Doctors Urged to Address Diabetes Sleep Apnea Connection

Sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes are strongly connected. Even though most doctors are aware of this connection, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has concluded that a deficient number of doctors utilize this knowledge.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially dangerous condition characterized by irregular breathing (pauses) during sleep. It effects upwards of 20 million individuals in the United States alone, which is approximately 7% of the population.

Past research has established a strong correlation between OSA and type 2 diabetes. According to the IDF, “at least 30 percent of people who suffer from OSA also have type 2 diabetes.”

A recent survey of doctors concluded that 94% were aware of this strong connection. Unfortunately, less than half of the doctors appear to give much weight to the connection, neglecting to perform standard tests for sleep apnea on type 2 diabetes patients.

It’s believed by the IDF that diagnosing and treating OSA in type 2 diabetes patients can help individuals manage their diabetes, as well as helping prevent serious complications associated with both OSA and diabetes (such as heart disease).

For this reason, the IDF is calling on those in the medical profession to take three important steps: “1. Generate awareness about the connection between OSA and T2D. 2. Conduct research to better understand the links between the two conditions, and 3. Develop new clinical practices that address treatment.”

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Zamudia-Lange, Virginia. Daigle, Emily. American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting news release. August 2008.