Large study links sleep apnea to diabetes

While small studies with short follow-up periods have previously linked sleep apnea to diabetes, a new, large study of more than 8,500 people confirms the association.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that the initial severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) could predict the risk for diabetes.

"Our study, with a larger sample size and a median follow-up of 67 months was able to address some of the limitations of earlier studies on the connection between OSA and diabetes," said lead author Tetyana Kendzerska, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto.

According to the International Diabetes Federation 9IDF), up to 40 percent of people with OSA will have diabetes, and OSA may effect the glycemic control response in people with type 2 diabetes.

Shorter sleep time and higher heart rate linked to diabetes

A total of 8,678 adults with suspected OSA without diabetes were examined for the study, undergoing a diagnostic sleep program between 1994 and 2010. The participants were followed through May of 2011 to track results further.

During the follow-up period, 11.7 percent of the patients developed diabetes. The researchers controlled for known diabetes risk factors, such as age, sex, body mass index and smoking.

"After adjusting for other potential causes, we were able to demonstrate a significant association between OSA severity and the risk of developing diabetes," said Dr. Kendzerska. "Our findings that prolonged oxygen desaturation, shorter sleep time and higher heart rate were associated with diabetes are consistent with the pathophysiological mechanisms thought to underlie the relationship between OSA and diabetes."

The IDF states that OSA is also associated with cardiovascular complications, like hypertension, stroke and heart failure.

The study is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Source: Science Daily

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