Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sleep Apnea, Sleepiness, and Blood Sugar Control

At the Sleep meeting this year in Minneapolis, researchers presented some preliminary data from the GLYCOSA study, which is designed to evaluate the impact of CPAP therapy on blood glucose control in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and type 2 diabetes. The data are interesting because of some surprising findings. Researchers think that untreated OSA can make it more difficult for diabetics to control blood sugar - and we thought that the more severe the OSA, as measured by the number of times the patient has apneas each hour of sleep, the worse the blood sugar control.

However, in this study, there was no association between sleep apnea severity and blood glucose control. The surprising finding was that those patients who described themselves as feeling sleepy (based on a standardized scale), were more likely to have poorly controlled blood glucose, even when the researchers controlled for OSA severity, age, sex, race, clinic site, waist size, and body mass index.

Researchers are not able to explain these findings at this time. They do suggest that endocrinologists might be able to screen diabetics who might have poorly controlled blood sugars by assessing their level of sleepiness during office visits.

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