Sleep apnea link to glucose control

Jan. 18, 2010 at 6:55 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Obstructive sleep apnea may worsen diabetes, researchers at the University of Chicago say.

Lead author Dr. Renee Aronsohn says the study demonstrates a clear, graded, inverse relationship between obstructive sleep apnea -- a disorder characterized by episodes of stopped breathing during sleep -- and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Relative to patients without the sleep disorder, the presence of mild, moderate or severe obstructive sleep disorder significantly increased mean adjusted HbA1c values -- a measure of glucose control not affected by short-term fluctuations due to meals -- by 1.49 percent, 1.93 percent and 3.69 percent, respectively.

The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, also confirmed the sleep disorder is very common among type 2 diabetes patients. Overnight polysomnography tests revealed 77 percent of the total of 60 diabetes patient in the study had obstructive sleep apnea. However, only five patients were previously evaluated for the disease, and none were undergoing treatment.

"Our findings have important clinical implications as they support the hypothesis that reducing the severity of obstructive sleep apnea may improve glycemic control," Aronsohn says in a statement.

"Thus effective treatment of obstructive sleep apnea may represent a novel and non-pharmacologic intervention in the management of type 2 diabetes."

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