In a study published in Diabetes Care Journal from the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes and sleep apnea could worsen their diabetes if the sleep disorder isn’t properly treated, a new University of Chicago study states.
The study examined the impact of sleep apnea on someone’s metabolic rate and control of blood sugars.
Sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing during a patient’s sleep and is known to raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is not known whether obstructive events during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep have a different metabolic impact compared with those during non-REM (NREM) sleep.
Treatment of OSA is often limited to the first half of the night, when NREM rather than REM sleep predominates. The study aimed to quantify the impact of OSA in REM versus NREM sleep in subjects with Type 2 diabetes.
It comes down to the control of blood sugar while the patient is sleeping. Patients who had interrupted breathing during REM sleep had worse long-term effects on their blood sugar control, the researchers found.
The researchers found that the best results aren’t achieved from the typical CPAP treatment for four hours as some patients remove their mask in the night because of irritation and discomfort, and can miss the REM sleep period that occurs in the hours before waking.
The study found, those patients that used their CPAP therapy for seven hours, thus receiving air during REM sleep, would have better blood sugar control long-term.