Study Shows Sleep Apnea Increases Diabetes Risk

People who have obstructive sleep apnea are also at risk for developing Type II diabetes, according to new research published in the journal Sleep Medicine.

“Over the last two decades, evidence has been accruing that sleep apnea may be associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and Type II diabetes,” said study leader Mako Nagayoshi of Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Science in Japan.

New sleep apnea study is largest of its kind

According to researchers, 13% of men and 6% of women have moderate to severe undiagnosed sleep apnea. The World Health Organization estimates that about 1 in 10 adults have diabetes. The links between sleep apnea, obesity and diabetes have long been suspected, but previous studies included a small number of participants and failed to control for other factors.

This particular data included 1,453 participants with an average age of 63 who did not have diabetes, but were categorized as “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe” sleep apnea sufferers. They were measured against normal control subjects for comparison.

After approximately 13 years, 285 people developed Type II diabetes. Those with “severe” sleep apnea were 70 percent more likely to develop diabetes than the “normal” control subjects.

The current research underscores the need to screen for sleep apnea in patients who are at risk for developing diabetes – particularly the sedentary and overweight. Likewise, people with diabetes should be screened for sleep apnea so care providers can treat sleep disturbances caused by blocked air passageways.

Sleep apnea treatment

More research is needed to investigate how effective treating sleep apnea can be at reducing the risk of diabetes, says Dr. Rashmi Nisha Aurora, a sleep medicine expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

However, a study conducted last year by researchers at McGill University found that patients with prediabetes who used a CPAP machine for eight hours a night were able to lower their risk of developing diabetes.

After just two weeks of treatment, the fasting glucose levels of the CPAP group were significantly improved and they had 27 percent lower levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine and lowered blood pressure.

However, researchers admitted that eight hours of CPAP a night was “difficult to achieve in real-life”, as many patients do not like wearing a full face mask as they sleep.

How can your dentist help?

One alternative to CPAP treatment can be found at your doctor’s office. Dr. David Blaustein, a Midtown Manhattan dentist with Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, offers custom oral appliances that are worn like mouth-guards to reposition the jaw and tongue, keeping airways open at night.

“Most of my patients have tried CPAP,” he explains, “but discontinued use due to waking with dry throats in the morning, difficulty falling asleep due to the loud noise of the machine, or the inability to adequately maintain the equipment.” Furthermore, Dr. Blaustein says, “Frequent travelers find that it’s simply not feasible to take their CPAP machines with them wherever they go, so oral appliance therapy becomes a more desirable optiondue to its portability.”

To initiate treatment, patients undergo a basic oral exam and have x-rays taken. Dr. Blaustein takes impressions of the teeth and creates a custom-made mouthpiece right in his New York City office. Small adjustments are made to ensure a comfortable fit.

For more information about sleep apnea treatment with Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, call 347-774-4015.


Chelsea Dental Aesthetics Comprehensive, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry located in Chelsea, New York, NY

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Can Good Oral Health Prevent?

When it comes to your teeth, practicing good oral hygiene should be at the top of your list. We only have one set of fully grown adult teeth that we use in every aspect of our lives. When we see family, friends and even strangers, one-third of the time...

Myths About Teeth Whitening

Everyone wants to have a whiter smile, but making the decision to pursue whitening treatment can be tough. Myths and stereotypes can lead to negative connotations, inhibiting you from moving forward with treatment. Below are three misconceptions...

Make A Difference on the Scale and In Your Mouth

One of the biggest topics that people buzz about is losing a few pounds and making healthier decisions when it comes to food. But did you know that making those changes could not only make a difference on the scale but also in your mouth?...