Addressing Signs Of Sleep Apnea Can Improve Your Glucose Levels

Diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are medical conditions that often coexist.

OSA is a breathing disorder that occurs when the mouth and throat relax during sleep, and block the sleeper’s airway for several seconds. These pauses in breathing can happen more than 100 times every hour in severe cases.

The two conditions - diabetes and OSA - have the common risk factors of obesity and smoking, and both are associated with hypertension, insulin resistance, and a greater chance for developing serious cardiovascular problems.

OSA Symptoms

Since diabetes and OSA are each linked with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, it’s possible having both conditions could exacerbate the risk. So, those with diabetes should know the signs of sleep apnea and take them seriously:

  • Snoring. We should listen to our spouse or partner if they complain about loud, chronic snoring. Even occasional snoring is a mild type of airway obstruction; loud and persistent snoring may indicate a severer airway blockage.
  • Gasping. We should listen to our spouse or partner if they notice we’re having difficulty breathing at night. Oxygen levels drop during breathing pauses, signaling the brain to wake up and take a breath. This causes sleepers to gasp, choke, or snort as they try to draw in adequate air.
  • High BP. OSA causes elevated adrenaline release during the night, contributing to increased blood pressure and heart rate. Over time, this can lead to higher blood pressure during the day as well.
  • Fatigue. If we spend seven to nine hours in bed most nights, but are chronically fatigued or sleepy during the day, it may be a sign of sleep apnea.
  • Headaches. Frequent morning headaches can occur when oxygen levels in the brain decrease owed to pauses in breathing. Studies suggest severe OSA is associated with more frequent, and persistent a.m. headaches.
  • Bathroom Visits. Nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, is a classic symptom of sleep apnea. It occurs because the fight-or-flight response triggered by OSA also creates a sensation of fullness in the bladder.
  • Insomnia. Sleep apnea and insomnia are common bedfellows. This is likely owed to the elevated adrenaline associated with OSA making it harder for those who awaken to drift off again.
  • When insomnia (insufficient sleep) coexists with OSA (non-restful sleep) there is naturally an increased negative impact on our ability to function well, and cope with everyday stress.
  • Weight. Up to 67 percent of those with OSA are overweight. As weight increases, so do the pads of fat around our windpipe. This narrows the airway, making it harder to breathe. Weight loss does not typically cure sleep apnea, but generally reduces the symptoms.

An estimated 18 million people in the U.S. are living with sleep apnea; many may be undiagnosed. Men are more likely to have this condition, but the incidence for women increases following menopause when hormone changes alter muscle tone, making it more likely the airway will narrow during sleep.

Better Sleep, Better Glucose Levels

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), individuals with type 2 diabetes are “much more likely” to have OSA, and they recommend people with diabetes be evaluated for the disorder. Doing so may not only have a positive effect on quality of sleep, but on glucose management, and daily functioning as well.

“Treating sleep apnea in diabetics improves nighttime glucose levels and insulin sensitivity,” said AASM’s Dr. M. Safwan Badr. “Treatment also will provide benefits of improved sleep unrelated to diabetes – including increased alertness during the day and improved memory and cognitive function.”

Sources: American Diabetes Assoc; Diabetes Journals; AASM; AARP
Photo credit: Mic445

Get Free Diabetic Supplies

Get free diabetic supplies delivered to your door. You will get a free glucose meter, lancing device, 100 test strips, 100 lancets, control solution and carrying case. Just pay shipping.

More Articles

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

There are several misconceptions about Diabetes. Learn more about the top misconceptions vs. facts surrounding Type 2 Diabetes below.

86...

It is estimated that 80,000 children and adolescents each year are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is diagnosed when the body...

As the summer months come to an end, we throw aside our swimsuits and bring out our favorite team jerseys! In America, fall means football, and...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose...

More Articles

It's not uncommon to spend several years living with type 2 diabetes and not even know you have the condition. Despite regular check-ups with your...

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in Western culture and media that this often lifelong, serious condition doesn't really raise an eyebrow...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Lantus is a once a day insulin injection that is taken at the same time every day. It replaces anywhere from the average three to five insulin...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control...

Most of us do not regularly keep the fruit that scientists call Fortunella margarita in our refrigerator. That these small, yellow-orange...

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise...

Having diabetes affects your body’s ability to handle hot, humid weather, and steamy temperatures can degrade diabetes supplies. But all of this...

Fashion and function come together in clothing developed by AnnaPS, making life a bit more comfortable and convenient for insulin users. The...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Smoking is a proven health hazard for everyone, but it is an especially dangerous habit for those with diabetes. Research shows that smokers with...