If you snore loudly, wake up frequently during the night, and are often sleepy during the day, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a sleep disorder in which breathing is frequently interrupted during sleep due to a blocked upper airway. Not only does OSA affect your quality of sleep and cause daytime sleepiness, it can also exacerbate diabetes in people with both of these conditions.
Simply put, type 2 diabetes is the result of blood glucose that is too high and occurs when the body can’t produce or use insulin properly. Obesity, inactivity, and even genetics can be contributing factors and also happen to be the common causes of sleep apnea. What’s more, in patients with both OSA and diabetes, these two conditions have a negative effect on each other and only exacerbate health problems.
How does OSA affect individuals with diabetes? When breathing pauses during sleep, the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood increase, which leads to insulin resistance, exactly what diabetes patients are trying to overcome. Not only does OSA increase insulin levels, but it also causes other health concerns, such as elevated blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
Due to the lack of sleep, diabetes patients with OSA may find it more difficult to be motivated to plan their meals and exercise, which are important aspects in controlling diabetes. Sleepiness can also have a negative impact on focus and memory and cause patients to miss taking their medication.
Doctors should ask patients with diabetes about their sleep habits to find out if they have symptoms of OSA and to ensure that they receive the proper treatment if they do. If you have questions about OSA and how it affects your health, please call our Montgomery office and we will be happy to speak with you.