- Sleep apnea is also linked to obesity and cardiovascular diseases
- Read here to know how diabetes is linked to sleep apnea
- Sleeping well is important for your overall health and well being
World Diabetes Day 2020: Sleep is a life-changing phenomenon that cannot and should not be ignored. It is still possible to go days without food, might even be able to go a day or two without water, but humans cannot live sustainably without sleep, and that is the reason why maintaining good sleep hygiene is pivotal. However, as Indians, we do not tend to take sleep disorders seriously. That makes it more essential for us to educate Indians about the importance of a good night's sleep and the repercussions of a destructive sleep cycle. Amongst the many consequences of inadequate sleep, one very crucial is its relationship with diabetes. This World Diabetes Day, which is observed on November 14 across the world, we are going to talk about the link between diabetes and sleep apnea.
World Diabetes Day: Link between sleep apnea and diabetes
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and diabetes are two critical health conditions that often occur together. When a patient suffers from sleep apnea, they periodically breathing stops many times a night. This condition can cause waking up tired very often, even after an eight-hour-long sleep, and frequently experiencing morning headaches. About 10% of the Indian population suffers from sleep apnea but is unaware of it. Similarly, the number of people who have diabetes is increasing, yet many people do not know that they are at risk and why.
Many do not correlate sleep apnea, and diabetes, however, there is a real medical connection between the two. Clinical studies have shown that around 48% of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have associated sleep apnea. Hence, the diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes provide us with enough evidence to consider paying close attention to the risk factors and symptoms of sleep apnea and vice-a-versa.
Another vital element is to become familiar with two terms - glucose intolerance and insulin resistance to understand the relationship between diabetes and sleep apnea.
Also read: 8 Important Things To Know About Sleep Apnea
It is postulated that OSA cause sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxia. These results in increase in oxidative stress, higher circulation of inflammatory cells, sympathetic activation and increase in a hormone called leptin. All these in turn causes insulin resistance, which why type 2 diabetes mellitus manifest. Under such circumstances, our body cells are unable to absorb blood glucose efficiently resulting in higher sugar levels in our blood stream. This is glucose intolerance.
Sleep apnea also has high correlation with obesity and cardiovascular diseases. There are enough evidence that sleep apnea therapy prevents cardiovascular events like arrhythmia, heart attacks and stroke. It is worth noting all these disorders are a part of cardio-metabolic dysfunction.
What can be done if diabetes restricts you to walk out of it?
The first thing to do here is to be aware. Symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, irritability, morning headaches, heavy snoring, and difficulty in breathing during sleep, in addition to diabetes, can be problematic for the overall well-being. In this case, it is best to conduct a sleep study or visit a sleep specialist.
Next step is to initiate treatment for sleep apnea. The benefits of treating OSA show positive results on its comorbid conditions like diabetes too. Studies show that CPAP treatment for OSA can improve glycaemic control and insulin resistance and thus optimize blood glucose levels in patients. This World Diabetic Day let's remember - if you #WakeUpToGoodSleep, it can be useful in solving most of the issues - 'kyuki neend acchi, toh din accha'.
(Dr Sibasish Dey: Head - Medical Affairs, Asia & Latin America, ResMed)
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