The Link Between Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Nobody likes feeling tired in the morning. It can affect your focus, your appetite, and your mood. An estimated 63% of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep for optimal overall health. Working late, enjoying leisure time, and caring for your home and household members takes time and energy that your body actually needs to rest and recover from stressful days. 

Adding diabetes to an already-tiring schedule makes a difficult situation more complicated. Since diabetes affects nearly every bodily system, your ability to sleep can be negatively affected. Though tiredness is an annoying side effect of many conditions, tiredness attached to diabetes and sleep apnea can seriously affect your health and decrease your quality of life. Though we aren’t positioned to treat your diabetes alone, having one of our providers on your diabetes care team is an important step to protecting your long-term health. 

If you have Type 2 diabetes, this can be a contributing cause of obstructive sleep apnea, sometimes called OSA, or sleep apnea. If you are living with sleep apnea, you are likely at risk of developing diabetes. One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring — something often written off as annoying or non-concerning. At Comfort Dental Spa in Farmington Hills, Michigan, our talented team treats your sleep apnea with sensitivity to your diabetes. If you’re still unsure about the link between sleep apnea and diabetes, we’ll tell you more about it. 

The link between diabetes and sleep apnea

Though these two conditions can come together to make things harder on you, there is much to understand about what is happening to your body. 

Weight is a factor

Most people living with diabetes and sleep apnea usually experience obesity. When your BMI, or body mass index, is about 25, you are generally considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 is considered obese. When you carry extra weight, your neck area can become compressed when you lie down, which stops you from breathing, and in turn wakes you up. 

Neck compression under body weight is one cause of snoring, but snoring doesn’t guarantee that you have sleep apnea. However, if you snore, are overweight, and living with Type 2 diabetes, keeping a close eye on your sleeping patterns with the help of one of our providers can help you avoid more serious problems later.

Why weight?

Part of the reason that sleep apnea makes you so tired isn’t just the interruption to your sleep — it’s the decreased levels of oxygen in your blood. People living with sleep apnea show lower levels of oxygenation in their blood, which can lead to fatigue, and more serious complications, like headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain. High blood pressure is concerning in people living with diabetes, as it raises your risk for a variety of vascular and cardiovascular problems. 

Your blood sugar reacts to OSA

We were designed to sleep through the night to recharge, and that extends to all of our bodily systems. Waking up in the middle of the night, especially because of bodily distress, raises your blood sugar and makes it more difficult to control. Treating your sleep apnea is an important step in controlling your blood sugar levels and making it easier for you to get quality deep sleep. 

A CPAP can help

CPAP stands for, “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure,” and it refers to a mask attached to a machine that rests at your bedside. The CPAP works by keeping the back of your throat open so that you can breathe deeply and properly through the night. CPAP machines and treatments are available through your dental provider, who will monitor your progress, and help you with any questions that you have. 

Take control of your sleep - and your diabetes

We understand that sleep apnea can be difficult and intimidating, but we’re ready to help. We’re here to be your dentists, and part of your diabetes care team committed to keeping you as healthy as possible. If you live with diabetes, are overweight, and have had trouble sleeping through the night, call Comfort Dental Spa today at 248-306-8753, or book an appointment online any time. 


Dr. Aziza Askari

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