Sleep Apnea and Diabetes – The Link between the Two

Sleep Apnea has been known to be closely related to various other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases as well as hypertension and diabetes. There are various risk factors which work with this condition hence leading to all the mentioned diseases and health conditions.

Sleep Apnea and Diabetes – Are They Related?

Yes, the two conditions have been known to be closely related to each other. Type 2 diabetes is the type of diabetes most likely to be caused by sleep apnea. There are two major reasons for this connection between the two. The first reason is that sleep apnea takes a direct toll on your metabolism, hence causing distress to the patient’s system which might lead to diabetes. The second reason is the common link between sleep apnea and diabetes which is obesity. Let us take us a look at the various ways Sleep Apnea and Diabetes are closely linked.

  • Type 2 Diabetes and OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)

The most common type of sleep apnea linked with Type 2 diabetes is OSA. This is mostly due to the fact that OSA is caused by muscular or tissue growth which obstructs regulation of air into the passageway. Apart from this the obstruction may be due to constriction of the airways. This constriction is almost always caused due to obesity or excess weight. A person who is diabetic due to obesity is most likely to suffer from sleep apnea as well.

  • OSA and Insulin Resistance

Obstructive Sleep Apnea has also been known to be directly related with insulin resistance and SDB (Sleep-Disordered Breathing). Increased sympathetic nervous system activity is something which is closely related to sleep apnea. This is also directly linked to hyperinsulinemia as a result of stimulation of glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. This in turn causes insulin resistance in the patient’s body. Insulin Resistance is also caused due to disturbed sleep routine. This is a clear and obvious side effect of sleep apnea.

  • Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy and Sleep Apnea

Most diabetic patients often suffer from Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy. These include patients of Type 1 as well as Type 2 diabetes both. While a person sleeps, their respiratory function is directly regulated by their Autonomic Nervous System. Patients who suffer from Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy are directly affected as their respiratory functions become weak. This could mean that their sleep is affected during the night. In some cases it might also directly lead to sleep apnea.

Improvement Tips – Can It Be Avoided?

While sleep apnea is directly linked to diabetes, the risks can certainly be avoided. The most important things to keep in mind if you suffer from either, is opting for a healthier lifestyle. Loads of exercise, taking care of your diet is the first and ultimate step. Weight loss in case of obese patients significantly helps too. It also helps if the patients minimize their intake of slow toxins such as alcohol and tobacco. While these tips might not be a direct cure or treatment, they have been known to ensure a healthier lifestyle to those who suffer from these disorders.