Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Type 2 Diabetes, sugar, insulin resistance, sleep apnea, high blood sugar

     Have you ever heard the old philosophical question, which came first the chicken or the egg?  That’s what comes to mind when we talk about diabetes and sleep apnea. 71% of people with type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea.  Does that mean that diabetes causes sleep apnea? Or Sleep Apnea causes Diabetes?  No research is ready to make either one of those claims. However, the relationship can’t be denied.  There are ways that sleep apnea affects our body that also affects diabetes and sugar levels. Let’s take a quick look at those.  One way that these two diseases interact is insulin resistance.  Type 2 diabetics may have developed insulin resistance through their diet.  Of course, those patients that have sleep apnea can develop insulin resistance as a result of the changes the body undergoes as a result of decreased oxygen levels.  This insulin resistance can lead to a person developing type 2 diabetes if they haven’t already.  Therefore, in this instance, a person might unknowingly suffer from sleep apnea and then later develop diabetes. 

     Next, we can look at glucose control.  Research shows that when sleep apnea goes untreated, glucose control decreases and vice versa.  When diabetics treat their sleep apnea it improves their nighttime glucose levels. Are you noticing the conundrum now?  There are a lot of variables that come into play when looking at the connections of sleep apnea and diabetes. The most important takeaway from all of this is what we can do with this information, be proactive.  Treat both, be happy!

     If you are diabetic and waking up tired and feeling sleepy during the day…  you may have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. The good news is that when you treat your sleep apnea it will have positive effects on your sugar levels.  And if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to watch your diet and exercise to ensure that you don’t develop type 2 diabetes.

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