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Sleep apnea may increase risk of diabetes

ATS 2007, SAN FRANCISCOResearchers at the Yale University School of Medicine have found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea are at increased risk for developing of type II diabetes, independent of other risk factors. The findings are being presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference, on Monday, May 21.

The study looked at 593 patients at the VA Connecticut Health Care System referred for evaluation of sleep-disordered breathing. Each patient spent a night in a sleep laboratory to undergo a sleep study, called polysomnography.

The researchers followed the subjects for up to six years and found that patients diagnosed with sleep apnea had more than two-and-half times the risk of developing diabetes compared with those without the nighttime breathing disorder. The patients were then divided into groups based on the severity of their sleep apnea, and the more severe a patients sleep apnea, the greater the risk of developing diabetes.

In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper airway narrows, or collapses, during sleep. Periods of apnea end with a brief partial arousal that may disrupt sleep up to hundreds of times a night. Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea. Emerging evidence also exists that sleep apnea is associated with hypertension, stroke and heart disease.

The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which delivers air through a mask while the patient sleeps, keeping the airway open. It is successful in treating sleep apnea and improving daytime drowsiness, resulting in an improved quality of life and even reduction in risk for traffic accidents. It has yet to be determined whether treatment for sleep apnea with CPAP can actually improve conditions such as diabetes.

Our next step will be to determine whether the treatment of sleep apnea can improve an individuals diabetic parameters and consequently the negative health ef
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Contact: Suzy Martin
smartin@thoracic.org
212-315-8631
American Thoracic Society
20-May-2007


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