Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. As a result, breathing will stop and start throughout the night. Approximately 13 percent of men and 6 percent of women suffer from moderate to severe undiagnosed sleep apnea. And, while the percentages might seem small, they should not be ignored.

What is the connection?

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in every 10 adults suffers from diabetes. Of those with diabetes, a majority have type 2 diabetes, which is when the body can’t make or process enough of the insulin hormone. As a result, obesity is an increased risk of both sleep apnea and diabetes.

Up to 83% of people with type 2 diabetes suffer from sleep apnea. However, they are not aware they even have sleep apnea.  As the severity of sleep apnea continues to increase, glucose control within the body begins to weaken.  And, to add to this, as a result of diabetes, many people are obese, which is also the number one cause of sleep apnea. When sleep apnea is treated, it can help a person lose weight and improve their diabetes.

Treating Sleep Apnea

The treatment of sleep apnea is vital for getting a good night’s rest, but it also helps treat and maybe even eradicate many other diabetes complications.  In addition to decreasing daytime sleepiness and removing a barrier to effective weight loss and/or management, treating sleep apnea can also improve an array of other complications, including:

  • Psychological well-being
  • Memory, concentration and other cognitive functioning
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Productivity during the day with fewer sick days
  • Decrease in the risk of traffic accidents

It is important to be aware of the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. While ongoing research is still being completed, knowing there is a connection is key. Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in North Scottsdale for more information on the connection between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes.