The connection between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November is American Diabetes Month. Over 30 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes, 95% of whom have type 2 diabetes (T2D). Also, over 15 million Americans are estimated to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Why is this significant?

In recent years researchers have been looking closer at the relationship between diabetes and sleep apnea. For example, T2D and OSA share common risk factors such as weight, or more specifically body mass index (BMI). Another connection is that OSA seems to make blood sugar levels more difficult to control.

Chronic sleep deprivation can cause quite a bit of both physical and emotional stress on an individual. This added stress can cause increased production of certain hormones which cause more glucose to be released into the system. Over time, this pattern can cause the body to develop a resistance to insulin, the substance produced by the pancreas that breaks down sugar in the system.

Studies have indicated that the more severe the untreated case of OSA, the more uncontrollable glucose levels become. Accordingly, effective treatment of OSA has been shown to have positive effects for people struggling with Type 2 Diabetes, helping them more effectively control their blood sugar levels. Ellingsen-Henneberg Dentistry has helped many people treat their sleep apnea, using a custom-fit oral device.

"Many people might not think of their dentist when trying to treat obstructive sleep apnea," said Dr. Jeff Henneberg, "but at Ellingsen-Henneberg Dentistry, it is one of the services we provide. An oral device is more comfortable than a CPAP mask and can be very effective in relieving OSA."

Now, more than ever, science is discovering the importance of sleep and its connection to your overall health. If you think you may have sleep apnea, or have questions about how an oral device could help, please don't hesitate to give us a call!