Sunday, June 19, 2011

Exercise, Diabetes, Sleep Apnea, and Death

I saw a report about a study presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. The study involved male veterans with diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Apparently, good exercise capacity is associated with a lower mortality risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. Also, studies have shown that patients with OSA have an increased mortality risk compared with those without OSA.

In this study, researchers measured the fitness levels of 567 male veterans averaging 62 years old. After taking other risk factors into account, like race, smoking, and medication use, the study results showed that men with low fitness levels had a 75% higher risk of death than those with high fitness levels. The change in death risk was proportional to the fitness level too.

This study is important because diabetes and OSA are both increasing in prevalence, probably a result of the increasing obesity rates. And as weight goes up, fitness levels generally go down. One thing I don't know is if the patients with OSA were being treated with CPAP, which might help lower their death risk, regardless of fitness level.

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