Have Type 2 Diabetes? You're Likely to Have Sleep Apnea Too - Diabetes Health
In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the upper airway narrows or collapses during sleep, cutting off breathing. People with OSA may be aroused hundreds of times each night, just enough to start breathing again.
Usually the sleeper doesn't recall the partial waking episodes, but feels tired every day. If you have type 2 diabetes, especially if you're overweight, and you feel sluggish all the time, it may well be the fault of OSA.
Recently our Advisory Board member Daniel Einhorn, MD, tested 279 type 2 patients for OSA at the Whittier Institute for Diabetes. A full 36 percent of his patients had it. Men were twice as likely to have it as women, especially if they were over 62 years old.
If you have type 2 diabetes, Dr. Einhorn advises that you get yourself screened for OSA. Estimates are that up to ninety percent of people who have it remain undiagnosed. It's not something you want to live with, however, because it's associated with insulin resistance, higher A1c's, and a number of other dire long-term effects, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, sexual dysfunction, and even an increased risk of car crashes.
Conversely, treating OSA improves glucose metabolism and diabetes control. And a good night's sleep can have a salutary effect on your ability to stick with a healthy diet or exercise regimen.
Some recent evidence suggests that rather than obesity causing OSA, and OSA causing diabetes, that diabetes, or rather insulin insensitivity, causes OSA directly. OSA hurts your brain, as your brain is deprived of oxygen. OSA is associated with sleepiness, lack of motivation, and executive dysfunction.