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A doctor and a nurse speak with a patient as she prepares for her sleep study.

Diabetes & Sleep Apnea

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which you have too much glucose or sugar in your blood. The pancreas circulates the hormone insulin into the blood stream and creates a pathway for sugar to enter into your cells. The glucose or sugar is the energy that supplies your muscles and tissues that make up your organs. There are 3 types of diabetes type 1 usually begin in childhood or adolescents (linked to genetics), type 2 diabetes can develop at any age and is preventable, and the onset of gestational diabetes beginning during pregnancy. They have varying causes but the American Diabetes Association states 25.8 million US citizens suffer from it.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Thirstiness
  • Profound hunger
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Itchy dry skin
  • Delayed healing
  • Tingling or pain in the feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased infections
  • Blurred vision

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Monitoring blood sugar to keep on target
  • Eating a healthy diet with a low glycemic index
  • Regular aerobic exercise
  • Medication or insulin therapy

Other Medical Conditions Associated to Diabetes

  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke 
  • High blood cholesterol

Facts about Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

  • The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 40% of people with sleep apnea will have diabetes.
  • The IDF states that up to 58% of diabetes may have a some type of sleep disordered breathing.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea may have effects on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Screening diabetics for sleep apnea is beneficial as is screening sleep apnea patients for diabetes.
  • The treatment of sleep apnea reduces health risks, especially for those with cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • In the treatment of sleep apnea, weight management should be the first treatment plan.
  • The optimal treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea may be continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Featured Updates

Guide to self-care for caregivers + free habit tracker

OCT 26, 2021

Check out these helpful resources on understanding caregiver burnout, how to ask for caregiver support, and taking breaks to get the self-care you need.

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