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Sleep Apnea Heightens Diabetes Risk
- Updated: June 7, 2014
There seems to be a growing list of factors that could increase the risk of a person ultimately developing diabetes. Recently, sleep apnea was also added to the list. A new study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine recently. The study findings show that sleep apnea increases the likelihood of developing diabetes by 30%.
8678 people took part in the study, all of them with suspected Obstructive Sleep Apnea. None of them had diabetes at baseline. A diagnostic sleep study of each study subjects was done between 1994 and 2010. Sleep apnea severity was assessed on the basis of apnea-hypopnea index and patients were classified as having severe, moderate or mild OSA or not having OSA at all. In May 2011 the researchers used provincial health administrative data to examine the occurrence of diabetes in the study subjects. They found that11.7% of the study subjects i.e. 1,017 people have developed diabetes.
The researchers made adjustment to allows for known diabetes risk factors like, age, sex, BMI, smoking etc. and then they found that the study subjects whose sleep apnea severity score was more than 30 on the apnea-hypopnea index were at 30% higher risk of developing diabetes as compared to those with an AHI score less than 5. For those with mild or moderate OSA, the increased risk was measured at 23%.
The study confirms findings of earlier studies that were conducted on a small scale and had shorter follow up period. Lead researcher Tetyana Kendzerska, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto said, “Our study, with a larger sample size and a median follow-up of 67 months was able to address some of the limitations of earlier studies on the connection between OSA and diabetes.”