Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sleep Disordered Breathing Independently Correlated to Insulin Sensitivity

There are many links between sleep apnea, diabetes, and obesity, but now it turns out that one of the important causes of type 2 diabetes, decreased insulin sensitivity, is independently associated with the severity of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. According to a study published this month in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, reductions in insulin sensitivity had a strong correlation with the degree of SDB, independent of age, sex, race, and percent of body fat. In addition, people with moderate to severe SDB had decreased pancreatic β-cell function, meaning that their pancreas was producing less insulin.

According to the study, those with mild, moderate, and severe SDB had a reduction in insulin sensitivity of 26.7, 36.5, and 43.7 %, respectively. In addition, the reductions in insulin sensitivity and the decrease in pancreatic β-cell function were both correlated to reductions in blood-oxygen saturation. And glucose effectiveness was negatively correlated with the frequency of apneic events. Glucose effectiveness is the measure of glucose disposal independent of insulin function, such as through the liver and other methods of filtering it from the bloodstream. This may be an early sign of an effect discussed in another paper published in the same issue, which notes that liver disease in obese patients may be increased by sleep apnea.

By linking SDB to important precursors to type 2 diabetes, the study reaffirms that sleep apnea and snoring are important independent health risks. Although obesity is commonly recognized as a cause of type 2 diabetes, more needs to be done to address the sleep apnea that may be responsible for both obesity and diabetes.

If you suffer from sleep apnea or are a snorer, you may be able to head off type 2 diabetes by receiving treatment. Schedule a snoring and sleep apnea consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois today.

posted by Dr. Candelaria at 11:33 AM