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How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Diabetes?

by Gauri Kolhe


Sleep apnea and diabetes are both dangerous illnesses that frequently coexist. Diabetes is becoming more prevalent, yet many individuals are unaware that they are at risk or why.

Some of the phrases linked with diabetes may be unfamiliar, which may be one of the reasons why individuals struggle to grasp this rapidly growing disorder.

Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance are two phrases you should be familiar with if you have diabetes or sleep apnea. Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas (a gland in your abdomen behind your stomach that aids in hormone synthesis and digestion) to aid in the storage and utilisation of sugar and fat from diet.

How does Sleep Apnea affect your body?

If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing numerous times during the night – up to hundred times when your sleep apnea is serious. Your fat cells grow resistant to insulin and your glucose levels rise when your body is starved of oxygen.

Insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are terms used to describe this condition. Your body might not even react to insulin as a result, and you might not be able to consume enough glucose.

How does Sleep Apnea affect Diabetes?

Managing sleep apnea and diabetes is very challenging. This is due to the rise in carbon dioxide in your blood when you stop breathing while sleeping.

As a result of this,

  • Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s ability to utilize insulin is compromised.
  • Chronically high blood pressure
  • A higher prevalence of cardiac issues or cardiovascular illness.
  • Headaches in the morning.

Obstruction Symptoms:

One kind of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA), which occurs when breathing is interrupted by a physical obstruction to airflow. Snoring is a frequent symptom of OSA.

According to the NIH, 12 million Americans have OSA, and it is a frequent illness among persons with type 2 diabetes.

According to research, a rise in the severity of OSA is associated with worse glucose management.

If you have diabetes and have any of the following symptoms, consult your doctor about having a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea:

  • Sleepiness during the day.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Snoring.
  • Most of the time, you’re sleepy or exhausted.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnea:

A polysomnogram, that captures bodily processes as you sleep, can be used to detect sleep apnea. Eye movements, electrical brain activity, muscular activity, heart rate, respiration, and blood oxygen levels are all measured during the exam.

CPAP can be used to treat sleep apnea (continuous positive airway pressure). When you sleep, you wear this mask over your nose and mouth. The machine’s air pressure drives air through the nose. This prevents the throat from shutting when sleeping.

An implanted nerve stimulator, which was recently authorised by the Food and Drug Administration for sleep apnea therapy, is another possibility for managing your problem.


Although sleep apnea can have a detrimental impact on glucose levels, it’s especially important for persons with diabetes to pay attention to their sleep quality. What may appear to be insignificant snores throughout the night might lead to higher A1Cs, high blood pressure, and cardiac issues if left untreated.

The basic conclusion is that if you have diabetes, you want to know if you have sleep apnea. This is due to the fact that you must control your sleep apnea in order to manage your diabetes. Not to mention that a good night’s sleep will make you feel so much better!

Fortunately, we now have the instruments and medicines to detect and cure sleep apnea, allowing us to avoid the most devastating consequences.

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