What does sleep apnea have something to do with diabetes?

The relationship between diabetes and sleep apnea, also called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or any other condition which interferes with good  night sleep  is that it can lead to insulin resistance. And insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, which can lead to diabetes.

Diabetes is the failure of the pancreas to make enough insulin for your body or an inability of the body to use the insulin produced. It is this second type of diabetes that is linked to sleep apnea. Insulin helps carry glucose (sugar) to the cells to supply energy to tissue and muscles. Without insulin, your muscles and cells do not get the energy supply they need. Although there is no cure for diabetes, it can certainly be controlled through diet, exercise, and sometimes medication or insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes usually comes on gradually, often later in life. It is often undiagnosed and, therefore, it remains intreated, which can lead to serious health complications in the future. Weight gain, which is a risk factor for sleep apnea, is also a risk factor for diabetes. Some type 2 diabetics have a dry throat when waking in the morning.

During sleep, people produce a hormone called leptin, which controls appetite. Sleep deficit as a result of sleep apnea can cause leptin deficiency or leptin resistance. The result is that you tend to eat more and store more fat, a definite risk factor for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Obesity and fat appears to be the biggest risk factor for diabetes and sleep apnea. Central obesity (when the fat is stored mainly around the abdomen) raises the odds the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will occur.

Given that approximately 75% of people with type 2 diabetes have central obesity, it is no surprise that an estimated 15% of people with type 2 diabetes have moderate to severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Monitoring of sleep apnea may help people control weight is the best non medical treatment for sleep apnea, 1% reduction in weight translates to a 3% reduction in sleep apnea. Obesity is a major predisposing factor for snoring.

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