New Techniques Link Pre-Diabetes to Sleeping Disorders

Using new advanced technological techniques, researchers have recently found convincing evidence that sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is closely linked to decreased insulin sensitivity, and other pre-diabetic conditions.

Pre-diabetes, a label given to characteristics that often lead to type 2 diabetes, is thought to have numerous progenitors. Obesity is the most accepted cause of type 2 diabetes, (previously known as adult onset diabetes), but genetics, hypertension, diet and many other potential causes, have been investigated and linked to the disease. Insulin resistance, or decreased insulin sensitivity, is the most common pre-diabetic condition, though pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and “glucose effectiveness,” are also common pre-diabetic traits.

Researchers were able to record comprehensive data concerning insulin sensitivity, on 118 participants. 79 of these individuals had diagnosed SDB. The two technological tools used, which allow for the novel ability to observe insulin sensitivity levels in a flowing manner over time(as opposed to one measurement at one time), are called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), and frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests (FSIVGTT). The former gives a comprehensive view of one’s body fat, while the later gives the numerous insulin sensitivity measurements over time.

Results clearly linked the SDB patients to all three pre-diabetic conditions mentioned above, putting them at significantly increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Says study author Dr. Naresh Punjabi, “Our major finding was that, as we suspected, SDB was strongly associated with a decrease in the three major metabolic pathways that the body uses to metabolize glucose— insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness, and pancreatic cell function— independent of adiposity[level of obesity]. What our research tells us is that SDB is characterized by multiple physiological deficits that increase the predisposition for type 2 diabetes mellitus.” These results suggest that increased caution should be taken with SDB patients in order to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Punjabi, Naresh. Savoie, Keely. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine news release. January 2008.