Sleep Apnea: A Hidden Enemy in Diabetes


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If you have diabetes, you may also have obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. In fact, up to 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes have some form of OSA viagra stripes.  If others say you snore, stop breathing, and gasp for air or choke while sleeping, you may have OSA. It is caused by a relaxed throat and tongue that close up your airway, making you unable to breathe.

If your tongue is large or if you have fat deposits in the airway or around your neck and abdomen, sleep apnea can be severe. This is why OSA is so common among obese people.

Not being able to breathe for seconds and even minutes puts a strain on your heart. As noted above, it also increases insulin resistance. So you may have high blood pressure and high blood sugar that do not respond to medication as they should.

Doctors now understand that lack of deep sleep makes diabetes worse, adding to your body’s stress. OSA contributes to this by forcing you out of deep sleep over and over, sometimes hundreds of times a night as you struggle to breathe.

OSA is called a silent killer because it makes you sleepy during the day, which leads to accidents while driving or at work. Also, people with OSA can die in their sleep due to sudden heart attacks, possibly from low oxygen levels or the stress of frequent awakenings.

For severe OSA, the most effective treatment is a continuous positive airflow pressure, or CPAP, machine.

The machine is about the size of a humidifier and has a tube that leads to a mask or nose plugs you wear while you sleep. The setup takes a while to get used to, and some people never do.

But the results of treating OSA and diabetes are well documented with lower medication needs, better sleep, more energy, and easier weight loss.

CPAP does not cure sleep apnea, but some people do lose enough weight to be able to stop using the machine. And it improves their diabetes and sleep, which also improves their quality of life.

Since both sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes are improved only after you discover you have them, getting tested is a great investment in your future. If you ignore them, the complications may eventually catch up with you.

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