Monday, 6 August 2007

Sleep apnea impacts one-third of type 2s

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I've never had to deal with sleep apnea, but my husband did hand me a box of snore strips after I ate everything in sight during my first pregnancy. Between embarrassment and laughter, I stuck on those ugly strips and his daytime fatigue vanished. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), breathing is impaired due to collapsed airways inducing multiple awakenings throughout the sleep cycle. Obesity is the most significant risk factor for OSA. Here's a zinger, the condition is pretty common -- if every American spent a night in a sleep lab, about 1 in 5 would have at least mild OSA. Knowing all that, I am not nearly as surprised by the results of a new study showing 36 percent of people with type 2 diabetes suffer from OSA.

Heath data from 279 adults with type 2 diabetes was analyzed by researchers at The Whittier Institute for Diabetes. One out of three diabetics had OSA, and men over age 62 were twice as likely as women to suffer from sleep awakenings. Earlier research has seen a relationship between OSA, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, but this is the first study analyzing data from both genders at a diabetes clinic.

Researchers call for regular sleep apnea screenings for all those with type 2 diabetes, especially since treating OSA can decrease blood pressure and improve blood sugar control. One treatment method for moderate to severe OSA (not mild) is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) -- where you sleep with a mask over nose and mouth, which is then connected to a machine delivering increased airway pressure in the throat to prevent airway collapse. Besides a high price tag, people are not always compliant due to a range of annoying side effects. But used regularly, CPAP can help. There are other variations of the therapy, such as automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) or variable/bi-level positive airway pressure (VPAP). If you're exhausted much of the time, consider a screening for sleep apnea. Read more in Health Central.

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