Sleep Apnea May Make Diabetes Worse

Obstructive sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing throughout the night which can have serious health consequences. Sleep apnea has previously been shown to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes and now it looks like the disorder also worsens blood sugar control by disrupting the deepest stage of sleep.

Sleep apnea sufferers stop breathing at various times throughout the night, but a new study published in Diabetes Care, found that apnea episodes during REM sleep had worsening effects on blood sugar control. Most REM sleep happens in the early morning hours, just before waking. It is during this time that many CPAP users remove their masks. As a result, these diabetic patients are leaving their apnea untreated during REM sleep — exactly when they need it the most!

Using a CPAP to treat obstructive sleep apnea is the gold standard of treatment. Unfortunately, only about half of patients are considered “compliant” with using their CPAP regularly. What may surprise some people is that “compliant” means they are using their CPAP for at least 4 hours per night on most nights. That leaves half the night – especially during important REM sleep – untreated.

Studies have found that patients who use an oral appliance have higher rates of compliance than with CPAP. Most people find sleeping with the mouthpiece comfortable. If they wake in the night to get a drink of water, they don’t need to remove the appliance. Same with going to the bathroom, no need to unhook a mask and then hook everything back up when returning to bed!

If you have sleep apnea and are a diabetic patient it is urgent that you treat your sleep apnea. Find out if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy today by contacting Ashville sleep apnea dentist Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and discuss treatment options.

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Posted in: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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