The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

Feb 18 2023

Recently, researchers have linked diabetes to another potentially dangerous health condition: sleep apnea. There are several ways these conditions influence each other, and patients with sleep apnea need to be aware of the risks. Sleep apnea can significantly impact your well-being, which is why you should speak to our team at Distinctive Dental Solutions at the soonest opportunity. Here’s what you should know about sleep apnea and its link with diabetes. 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when tissues in the throat collapse in the airway during sleep, blocking airflow. This condition can cause poor sleep quality and significant health complications when left untreated, including high blood pressure, a higher risk for stroke, daytime fatigue and many other symptoms. 

Fortunately, sleep apnea can be treated with the help of our dentists. We offer individualized advice to help you feel your very best, so contact us to discuss possible treatments. 

How Sleep Apnea and Diabetes Are Connected

Diabetes is a leading cause of death among Americans, and several factors can cause it. Some people have an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the parts of the pancreas that create insulin, which is known as type 1 diabetes. For others, they experience insulin resistance, where the body cannot adequately control blood sugar levels, which is called type 2 diabetes. Many people with type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. 

Diabetes can also raise the risk of sleep apnea, and vice versa. Around 71% of those with diabetes are believed to have sleep apnea, although the condition may go undiagnosed in many people. Sleep apnea can worsen the effects of diabetes since both conditions share comorbidities. 

How Does Sleep Apnea Increase the Risk of Diabetes?

Researchers aren’t certain of the exact reasons sleep apnea can lead to diabetes or if other underlying health issues may contribute to both simultaneously. It’s possible that these conditions are linked because they share risk factors. Cardiovascular disease and obesity are related to both of these conditions and each influences the risk of developing the other. 

Someone who has sleep apnea has a higher risk of diabetes because of two main reasons. First, sleep apnea can cause hypoxemia, in which the oxygen concentration in the blood drops below healthy levels. As a result, oxidative stress increases and glucose tolerance is compromised via a chain reaction. Reactive oxygen species are molecules that can make it harder for the body to heal itself, which then contributes to insulin resistance. 

Secondly, sleep fragmentation increases the release of cortisol due to putting the body in a state of stress. Frequent awakenings can increase appetite and cravings for sugary, carbohydrate-filled foods. These impacts on metabolism and other bodily processes make it more likely for diabetes to develop. 

Discuss Sleep Apnea With a Dentist

Distinctive Dental Solutions offers outstanding sleep apnea treatment. We can create custom oral appliances that can reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our dentists.



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