Sleep Apnea May Increase Blood Sugar Levels

A new study suggests that people with sleep apnea may have a harder time controlling their blood sugar, even with diabetes medication. Sleep apnea, which causes lack of oxygen during sleeping, is known raise the risk of diabetes in people who don’t already have the disease.

woman_sleepingIn those who do, the study suggests, can have a harder time maintaining steady blood sugar levels. The more breathing pauses that a person suffers, especially during REM sleep, the more problems they seem to have with controlling their blood sugar.

The Study, which was published in Diabetes Care, found that episodes of sleep apnea, during REM movements, caused higher levels of blood sugar fluctuation. This happened almost exclusively in people who either haven’t been wearing their CPAP mask, or don’t have one to begin with. People who suffer from sleep apnea wear a CPAP mask to prevent pauses in breathing.

The problem, according to the study, is that a lot of sleep apnea patients remove their CPAP masks during the night because they are uncomfortable. REM sleep occurs during the early morning hours before waking, so it is the time most likely to be without the mask.

The result is that sleep apnea is likely to go untreated without the mask during REM sleep, which is very bad for people with type-2 diabetes, according to the study.

A Common Symptom

Like with diabetes, people who are overweight are more prone to also have sleep apnea. Most of the time these breathing pauses aren’t dangerous. They normally just cause the person to wake up on toss and turn before returning to sleep and a semi-regular breathing pattern.

The majority of cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed for this reason. People simply don’t realize that they have the symptoms, so they don’t bother going to the doctor. If you think you may have sleep apnea, and you have diabetes, this study should give you even more reason to go get checked.

The last thing you want is another symptom causing erratic blood sugar levels.