Sleep apnea leads to three-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers report

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 05 Jun 2017
Sleep apnea leads to three-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers report
People with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a three-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers have claimed.

OSA is a condition which people with diabetes are more likely to develop, resulting in interrupted breathing or shallow breaths while sleeping.

This new research, conducted by scientists from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, US also found that people with mild-to-moderate OSA were four times more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure).

The first research abstract was presented on Monday 5 June, at SLEEP 2017 in Boston, which is the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The second abstract will be discussed on Wednesday 7 June. Both have already been published online by the journal Sleep.

The studies looked at the Penn State Adult Cohort, which was a random sample of the general population containing 1,741 adults.

Those who took part were medically assessed at the beginning of the study and then monitored in a sleep centre. Participants with no presence of hypertension at the start of the study were re-examined after 10 years.

The two studies found that the increased risk of developing both health conditions was greatest in young and middle-aged adults.

Dr Yun Li, who was one of the lead authors, added: "In young and middle-aged adults, our findings suggest that early detection and treatment of mild-to-moderate sleep apnea is warranted in order to prevent future cardiometabolic disease.

"Given the stronger association of sleep apnea with metabolic abnormalities in this age group, emphasis should be placed on yearly monitoring of indices of metabolic symptoms and lifestyle interventions, such as weight control, healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management."

Symptoms of sleep apnea include being tired during the day, loud snoring and forgetfulness as well as headaches in the morning.
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