The number of health complaints believed to be related to Obstructive Sleep Apnea are plentiful, with cardiovascular disease, GERD, and high cholesterol all possibly related to untreated apnea. One of the most well-researched related health conditions, though, is the life-changing and very common Type 2 Diabetes. The most common form of diabetes by far, Type 2 is marked by high glucose levels in the blood and can be associated with obesity. It is now estimated that up to 1 in 4 individuals with Type 2 Diabetes will also have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and, unfortunately, many of these people are currently undiagnosed and untreated.
Untreated OSA makes controlling blood sugar more difficult as, it is theorized, the hormones released during interrupted sleep inhibit the effects of insulin in the body. So not only could someone with untreated OSA be opening themselves up to a host of other related medical problems, they also could be inhibiting their diabetes treatment, or causing their diabetes to be harder to manage.
One study followed 25 individuals with Type 2 Diabetes who were diagnosed and treated for their underlying apnea. After beginning CPAP treatment, their average after-meal blood sugar went from 191 mg/dl to a healthier 130 mg/dl.
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you should be evaluated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea through a physician-recommended sleep clinic. Conversely, if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you should also consider being evaluated for Type 2 Diabetes, as you are 9 times more likely to have the blood sugar disorder than someone without OSA.