Sleep problem again linked to diabetes risk

Wed, 30 May 2012
A new study has uncovered more evidence about the link between the sleep disorder apnea and metabolic conditions including type 2 diabetes.

The research, which involved monitoring nearly 8,000 participants who took part in overnight sleep studies at 22 sleep labs around Europe, found that moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) helped to predict the development of type 2 diabetes, and that apnea and hypoxemia (low oxygen levels in the blood) at night time were associated with levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), linked with diabetes. Sleep apnea results when sleep airways become obstructed and prevent breathing during sleep.

Researcher Brian Kent, from St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, said "Our study shows that OSAS is independently associated with metabolic disturbances." He added "This is important because individuals with T2DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] or elevated HbA1c levels are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease."

The findings support the link between diabetes and sleep apnea revealed in a previous study that argued the sleep condition was able to increase the chances of diabetes by two-and-a-half times, and another that found treating it could help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels. Other studies have shown that sleep-disordered breathing such as obstructive sleep apnea was associated with an increased risk of dying from cancer, and that sleep apnea can have an effect on blood vessels in the brain.
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