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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sleep Apnea May Boost Carbohydrate Cravings Among Diabetics

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may spur a dangerous craving for carbohydrates among people with type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study that was formally presented this week at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

OSA has already been associated with an increased risk for diabetes, but this new study suggests that primary care physicians should consider screening for OSA in patients who have type 2 diabetes, according to the study’s authors.

“Previous studies have shown that sleep deprivation may lead to changes in hormones that regulate appetite and hunger,” said Dr. Mahmood Siddique, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, in a news release. “These hormonal changes can lead to significant craving for high-calorie carbohydrates such as cookies, candy, breads, rice and potatoes.”

Unrestricted carbohydrates of this nature can be especially harmful to diabetics. Researchers found that diabetics with diagnosed sleep apnea were almost two times more likely to have high carbohydrate cravings as patients without sleep apnea.

The study focused on 55 people who were tested for diabetes, OSA and carbohydrate cravings. More than half of the group had type 2 diabetes, and 82 percent of the diabetics suffered from OSA; the diabetic patients sampled had nearly double the risk of carbohydrate cravings.

Although the research did not establish a direct cause-and-effect link, the study did indicate the importance of considering sleep apnea as a key risk factor in regulating blood sugar among those with diabetes.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with a wide range of health problems, but the field of dental sleep medicine offers a number of treatments beyond the traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Many patients have found success with oral appliances, which are more comfortable to wear than CPAP.

If you or a loved one suffers from chronic snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, a dentist experienced with diagnosing and treating sleep disorders may be able to help. Please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a qualified dentist near you to learn more about sleep apnea assessment and treatment.

posted by Steve at 10:06 AM