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Sleep Apnea And Diabetes Are Connected

How To Stop Sleep Apnea And Diabetes From Teaming Up

Peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard, smokey and the bandit. These are some iconic duos that make one another even better. However, there are some things that aren’t exactly great together, like sleep apnea and diabetes.

Unfortunately, sleep apnea is linked to a variety of life-threatening conditions and can actually contribute to them. However, diabetes can also cause sleep apnea. Those with type 2 diabetes actually have a 50/50 chance of developing a sleep disorder.

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea And Diabetes

The connection between sleep and diabetes is dangerous because as the two team up to make symptoms of one another much worse they can result in life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or even strokes.

Currently, over 30 million Americans are suffering from diabetes and another 84.1 million living with prediabetes, which without treatment, could develop into diabetes type 2 within 5 years. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea and diabetes early on before the two come together to grow stronger.

Lack of Sleep And Diabetes Signs

Those with a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea tend to get 6 or fewer hours of sleep a night, lowering their glucose tolerance and increasing their insulin resistance, even if no other diabetes symptoms are currently present.

Sleep Apnea and Diabetes lead to stressThis is because of the stress associated with lack of sleep can cause stored glucose to be released into the liver, increasing blood sugar levels and contributing to insulin resistance.

This plays a role in throwing off appetite regulation as sleep deprivation causes an increase in hunger and failure to recognize satiation, contributing to obesity, a common factor between those with sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes.

“I’d say the strongest link between the two is being overweight. However, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle. Because sleep apnea also has a negative impact on sleep quality and quantity. And this negative impact on sleep increases the risk of excess weight gain. People who sleep six hours or fewer on average consumer an additional 300+ calories per day as a result. This is largely due to the fact that sleep deprivation causes an increase in levels of ghrelin, a “hunger hormone,” and a decrease in levels of leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full,” explained Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Coach. 

Obesity can cause the heavy tissues around your neck to collapse on your throat during the night, causing your airways to become blocked. As a result, your body becomes stressed and works to wake you up just enough to start breathing again. This stress leads to exhaustion as well as hypertension, making it difficult to be motivated to work out or make healthy lifestyle choices.

Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to properly regulate blood sugar those with diabetes often can’t fall asleep and suffer from insomnia due to:

Man with sleep apnea and diabetes can't sleep Apneas – Pauses in breathing that causes people to wake in the night. 

Restless Leg Syndrome – An intense sudden urge to move your legs that may be accompanied by tingling, pain, or pulling. 

Peripheral Neuropathy – Damage to the nerves of the feet and legs that causes burning, tingling, pain, and numbness.

Sleep apnea symptoms include:

    • Waking with a headache
    • Loud Snoring
    • Waking up gasping or choking for air
    • Irritability or mood swings
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Chronic fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness
    • Increased traffic incidents

Managing Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

The first step to taking your life back involves getting quality rest. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and if an at-home sleep test if applicable, you can be tested for sleep apnea from the comfort of your own home.

When it comes to sleep apnea and diabetes, CPAPS can helpIf tested positive for sleep apnea, you’ll most likely be prescribed a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device to keep your airways free of obstruction while you sleep. Many users feel as if CPAP machines give them their quality of life back as they help them feel re-energized and even lose weight.

A study by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that with the use of a CPAP device to receive 8 hours of rest improved blood sugar levels and reduced the risk for diabetes for those with prediabetes.

You may be placed on a diabetes diet to help regulate your blood sugar and may need to beginning moderate exercising to slim down. This will help you breathe more easily, and may also help with restless legs syndrome and peripheral neuropathy.

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