The Connection Between Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

The Connection Between Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea, diabetes, heart problems, heart, sleep, renew sleepIt’s estimated that 40% of people with obstructive sleep apnea have diabetes.Both sleep apnea and diabetes are common disorders and often coexist. A common explanation for the overlap is the shared risk factor of obesity. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing diabetes. They are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

While obesity is a factor, there could be a more complex relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea can affect glycemic control. When we’re not able to get enough sleep, our blood sugar levels rise. Chronic sleep deprivation brought about by abrupt awakening throughout the night will cause our bodies to release stress hormones. These hormones have the ability to release stored glucose in the liver. Once this glucose is released we see a spike in blood sugar.

Overtime an increase in blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. When the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin, glucose can’t enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

Both sleep apnea and diabetes are often associated with increased cardiovascular problems and mortality. It’s possible that the presence of both could result in additional risk or even a combined risk. This is why it is important for people with diabetes to watch carefully for the symptoms of sleep apnea and have it properly diagnosed and treated.

These symptoms include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Snoring
  • Episodes of no breathing while asleep
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry throat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain


The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. However, the CPAP can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, leading many people to discontinue their use of it. For many sleep apnea patients, an oral device offers a more comfortable and effective treatment. If you have diabetes or if you suspect you might have sleep apnea, call us at (662) 823-7900 to learn more.



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