While researchers had already established a link between sleep apnea and diabetes, a new study conducted at the University of Toronto's Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation provides some additional data on this association.
According to HealthDay, researchers examined 8,678 adults who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea between 1994 and 2010 and didn’t initially have diabetes. They found that during that time period, 1,017 of the test subjects developed diabetes. Among those with severe sleep apnea, there was a 30 percent increased risk of developing the disease.
It’s important to note that this was an observational study, which means that it provides no proof of a cause-and-effect relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes. Still, medical professionals seem to agree that the association between the two health conditions shouldn’t be ignored.
"I definitely think that this is an important study highlighting the need for more sleep apnea awareness, screening and treatment,” said Shelby Freedman Harris, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program and the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, as noted by the source. "Given the large sample size, it further places emphasis on sleep apnea as a predictor of diabetes, and hopefully with earlier intervention, it can greatly impact the health costs for diabetes management as well as improve the outcomes for many patients.”
If you find yourself exhibiting any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to consult your doctor. While untreated sleep apnea can lead to more serious health problems, the good news is that it’s easy to treat with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.