Sleep apnea could make diabetes worse

People with obstructive sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes might be facing a double-whammy hurdle when it comes to blood sugar control, according to a new study published in Diabetes Care.

The findings suggest that sleep apnea – a condition that's characterized by breathing pauses and lower oxygen levels – disturb REM sleep. Disruptions during this deep phase of sleep have the most detrimental effects on blood sugar control, the study found.

Sleep apnea must not go untreated

Many sleep apnea patients wear a continuous positive airway pressure mask during the night to help regulate breathing patterns, yet some individuals remove these masks in the middle of the night due to discomfort, said Dr. Babak Mokhlesi, study author and director of the sleep disorders center at the University of Chicago.

This causes sleep apnea to go untreated during REM sleep, Mokhlesi said, which is a phase of sleep that's critically important for people with diabetes.

"In type 2 diabetes, OSA during REM sleep may influence long-term glycemic control," the authors concluded.

Source: New York Times

"Image courtesy of Feelart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

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