November 18, 2019
Sleep apnea – a disorder where your breathing is frequently interrupted while you’re asleep – can be damaging on its own by preventing you from getting quality rest. Unfortunately, that may not be the end of it; the disorder has been linked to many other health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. Read on to learn more about this link and why untreated sleep apnea might cause diabetes to grow worse.
What Does It Mean If You Have Type 2 Diabetes?
There are different forms of diabetes, but type 2 is by far the most common. This condition affects the way your body metabolizes glucose, which is an important source of energy. Your cells rely on a hormone called insulin to control their intake of glucose. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body starts to resist the effects of insulin, which means the glucose stays in your blood stream. High glucose levels can lead to fatigue, increased thirst, and headaches; over time, the condition does more damage to the body, resulting in skin infections, worse vision, stomach problems, and other issues.
What Connection is There Between Diabetes and Sleep Apnea?
Nearly half of people who have type 2 diabetes also end up being diagnosed with sleep apnea. This is largely because both conditions have a common risk factor: obesity. Being overweight can increase your resistance to insulin, and it can also cause fat to accumulate around your neck, creating extra tissue that can collapse while you’re asleep and block your airway.
It’s also possible for sleep apnea to cause diabetes to grow worse. The stress that comes with the sleep deprivation and the frequent, abrupt awakenings associated with the disorder can cause the body to release stored glucose, which in turn could cause the body to become more resistant to insulin over time. As such, type 2 diabetes patients should be aware of the potential signs of sleep apnea so that they can have the disorder treated in a timely manner.
How Can You Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea?
There are a few different signs that can warn you about sleep apnea. Have others told you that you snore loudly enough to be heard through a closed door? Are your tired throughout the day? Has anyone noticed that you often stop breathing while you’re asleep? Are you suffering from high blood pressure? If you notice two or more of these symptoms, you should talk to a sleep dentist about testing for sleep apnea.
Once your sleep apnea has been diagnosed and treated appropriately, you’re likely to find it easier to control your glucose levels and thus limit the damage done by type 2 diabetes. Don’t take any chances; take the right measures to make sure you’re sleeping soundly throughout the night!
About the Author
Dr. Deborah A. Romack has completed several education courses related to sleep apnea, airway obstruction and snoring. At Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine, she uses the latest knowledge and equipment to treat sleep breathing disorders. To schedule an appointment, visit her website or call (817) 594-3806.
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