Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Reported May 26, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – People who have both type 2 diabetes and the eye condition known as retinopathy might want to have a sleep test.

According to a new study out of Great Britain, the diabetes-retinopathy combination significantly increases the chances someone will also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, the link is even stronger than that seen between retinopathy and poor blood sugar control and high blood pressure – areas typically targeted when looking for ways to prevent or delay the sight-robbing condition.



The current research is based on 118 men who participated in an earlier study involving type 2 diabetes and OSA. All also had annual retinal screenings to look for signs of retinopathy, a common complication in those with diabetes. Fifty-four percent of those diagnosed with OSA also had retinopathy. That compares to just 31 percent among those without OSA. The finding held true even after investigators adjusted the results for other factors such as age, body mass index, blood sugar control, and the duration of diabetes.

“Our message would be for doctors and nurses who see patients with type 2 diabetes to consider whether they could have OSA and whether they should therefore be referred for a sleep study,” study author Sophie D. West, M.D., of the Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine, was quoted as saying. “Future research will try to determine whether the treatment for OSA, that is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), can delay the development or progression of retinopathy, associated with diabetes.”

SOURCE: Presented at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society, May 19, 2009