Diabetics have a lot to deal with. Not only can the condition be fatal, but in order to stay healthy, blood glucose levels must be constantly monitored, and needles become a regular part of a daily routine. Additionally diabetics are at an increased risk for other conditions, such as gum disease. Many do not realize it, but sleep apnea is another condition that diabetics should be aware of, as quality of sleep is intrinsically linked to blood glucose levels, and poor sleep could make treating diabetes more difficult.
Sleep and Blood Sugar
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where the either the tongue is too big or the soft palate relaxes too much so that while you sleep your airway is either partially or fully blocked. It has been linked to conditions such as dementia and may be fatal if left untreated. Snoring is a common symptom of a partially blocked airway, and if the airway is fully blocked your body will jolt you awake in a desperate attempt to get air. There are a lot of so-called “treatments” for OSA that are not effective, but the condition is treatable. OSA is typically treated with CPAP which is a device worn while sleeping that uses air pressure to ensure the airway stays open. Other treatments, such as oral appliances as well as implants have been successfully used as well. Even smartphone apps have seen some success in diagnosing sleep apnea.
It is important to check for OSA if you are diabetic because OSA can negatively affect your blood glucose levels. If you are jolted awake at night trying to breathe your body will trigger its fight or flight response. This not only increases the level of adrenaline in your body, but also releases other stress hormones that increase the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Also, if you have a poor night’s sleep, you are also more likely to snack to stay awake at work which makes it more difficult to manage your blood glucose levels.
In addition to monitoring blood glucose levels and maintaining a healthy diet, it is also recommended that you exercise regularly as well. A Sleep AHEAD study examined 306 obese people with type 2 diabetes and found that 86 percent also had OSA. Many then opted for another study to see if weight loss could help lessen the effects of OSA. Those who lost 22 pounds or more saw a huge improvement of in their sleep quality with some completely eliminating their OSA.
How We Can Help
If you have been diagnosed been diagnosed with OSA by a sleep specialist, Dr. Matthews can help you get a good night’s sleep, especially if you find CPAP devices a little too cumbersome. Dental appliances are fitted to position your jaw so that the airway is not constricted while you sleep. Sleep apnea is a condition that should be taken seriously, more so if you are diabetic. If you live in the Austin area and are looking for an alternative to CPAP, pay a visit to Dan Matthews, DDS. Please give us a call at (512) 520-0606 to schedule an appointment today.