More than 28 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, and most of these people also have sleep apnea. The combination of sleep apnea and diabetes is a major public health problem in the US. Rising rates of obesity also contribute to more cases of sleep apnea and diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea has been shown to raise glucose levels, causing the “dawn phenomenon” that many diabetics experience in the early morning hours.
The gold standard or treating sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which regulates your breathing while you sleep by keeping your airway open with pressurized air. Several studies have shown that CPAP therapy for sleep apnea is also effective for lowering glucose levels in diabetic patients.
One study in particular from 2013 looked at a group of patients who had sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. The patients slept in a sleep lab and received CPAP therapy every night for one week. The results showed that CPAP therapy was able to lower average 24-hour glucose levels AND reduce blood sugar spikes in the morning by 45%. That is significant!
In a press release, the lead author of the study, Dr. Esra Tasali, told the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that “Our study shows that CPAP treatment of sleep apnea across the entire night can improve glucose control and may in some patients have as much of an effect as an oral anti-diabetic medication.”
People who have tried CPAP therapy tend to echo each other, saying they are getting the best sleep of their life. Many people do not realize they have sleep apnea until a loved one or close friend brings it up. If you have type 2 diabetes, there is an excellent chance that you also have sleep apnea, even if you are not overweight.
Take our quiz to check for sleep apnea symptoms, and talk to your doctor today.
Americare Respiratory Services is the nation’s leading provider of CPAP therapy equipment, including BiPAP and VPAP machines.