Sleep Apnea And Diabetes: What You Need To Know About This Connection

June 26, 2020

Sleep Apnea And Diabetes: What You Need To Know About This Connection

Sleep Apnea has long been linked to many other health conditions including cardiovascular disease. However, one link that has arisen time and again is that of OSA and diabetes. In this article, we look at the relationship between these two health conditions and how they can be managed. 

 

Sleep Apnea And Diabetes: How Are They Related? 

Many people often wonder, which condition comes first? Is Type 2 diabetes a causing factor for the onset of Sleep Apnea? Can Sleep Apnea cause diabetes? Some studies suggest that they both have the ability to make the other worse while others point to both having similar commonalities. 

One of the main factors that link both of these health conditions is the fact that they are impacted by obesity. Excess weight has been shown to impact how a body processes sugar, therefore, being a top risk factor for diabetes. Obesity is also considered a significant risk factor for Sleep Apnea as it causes extra pressure on the neck muscles further exacerbating an individual’s ability to not breathe properly at night. 

While there is no way to definitively say whether one condition causes the other, what is known is that these two health problems heavily coexist together due to their shared risk factors. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes and notice that you feel fatigued more often, you may need to seek advice from your physician as soon as possible. 

 

What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of These Conditions? 

Both Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and type 2 diabetes are associated with similar symptoms. That is why it is so important that if you suspect or know you have one of these conditions, that you get checked for the other. As mentioned earlier, when left untreated both of these health issues have the ability to make the other worse. 

So, what are the signs and symptoms that are common to both Sleep Apnea and diabetes?

  • High blood pressure: Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a symptom that is found in those that have Sleep Apnea and those that have type 2 diabetes. In diabetes, it is believed that this occurs due to chronic inflammation, inactivity and a diet that is high in fat. For OSA patients, it is common due to the fact that blood oxygen levels decrease during an apneic event causing blood pressure levels to rise. 
  • Weight gain: As we’ve already spoken about, one of the most common telltale signs of both diabetes and OSA is weight gain. Those with undiagnosed diabetes may notice an increase in hunger even though they are eating enough. This then inevitably causes weight gain due to overeating. Additionally, for OSA, when left untreated it can lead to weight gain due to the fact that sleep deprivation makes it harder for individuals to lose weight. 
  • Heart disease: Both health conditions have been linked to cardiovascular issues such as stroke and heart attacks when left untreated. Due to the increase in blood pressure that is experienced in both of these conditions, those with Sleep Apnea and diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart diseases later in life. 

 

How Individuals Can Manage OSA And Diabetes

Since OSA and diabetes seem to be linked and share common similarities, studies have been conducted to see whether treating one condition can in fact treat the other. The good news is that there are many ways that individuals suffering from both diabetes and Sleep Apnea can manage their symptoms to improve their overall quality of life. 

 

Lifestyle Changes

When it comes to treating these conditions, lifestyle changes will be required. As excess weight is one of the leading risk factors for both diabetes and Sleep Apnea, it is vital that you make the necessary changes to be more mindful of how you're treating your body. 

Speak to your doctor to discuss the best way that you can manage your weight as part of your treatment program. Based on their recommendations, forms of exercise such as running, weight training, pilates and swimming are great ways to help you get your weight under control while also following a nutrition plan. 

 

Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Therapy

PAP therapy has long been the go-to treatment option for Sleep Apnea and specialists suggest that Sleep Apnea therapy has the ability to improve blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. CPAP therapy has been found to improve both sleep quality and the ability to control glucose levels in those individuals with diabetes. However, it is important to speak with a health professional as there are many different forms of PAP therapy available and not all will be suitable for you. 

While it is obvious that both OSA and type 2 diabetes coexist with one another, with the right treatment it is possible to manage both these health conditions while improving your quality of life in general. If you suspect that yourself or a loved one is suffering from either diabetes or Sleep Apnea, encourage them to seek professional help immediately.





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