Snoring and other sleep disorders cause a huge increase in Type 2 Diabetes

For far too many adults the idea of a good night’s sleep is just that – an idea. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, the average person is sleeping 6 hours and 40 minutes on workdays, and an average of 7 hours and 25 minutes on other days. The numbers are a far cry from the average of 8 hours and 40 minutes per night that adults reported sleeping in the 1960s, and the health consequences of those lost hours can be dramatic, and may even be life-threatening.

Diabetes Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

Sleep disturbances are very common in endocrine disorders, particularly in metabolic disorders. Sleep restriction, or poor quality sleep, is now widely recognized as a risk factor for both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Untreated sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnoea can exacerbate both diseases.

The consequences of chronic sleep loss can go far beyond simply feeling tired and research clearly shows that it produces a large increase in glucose sensitivity increasing the risk of diabetes.

UK Health News, along with many national newspapers this week reported that the number of people with diabetes in the UK has soared by 59.8% in a decade, according to a new analysis. Using official NHS data, the charity Diabetes UK says there are now more than 3.3 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes – an increase of 1.2 million adults compared with 10 years ago when there were just over 2 million people with the condition.

Diabetes UK is warning that this “exponential growth” in the numbers of people with diabetes underlines the urgent need for prevention before the sheer numbers of people with the disease overwhelms our health service resources.

It is also calling for better care and treatment for those who have already been diagnosed with this serious condition. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to devastating and expensive health complications such as kidney disease, stroke, blindness and amputations.

If we take steps to stop or prevent snoring, and control sleep apnea, we have hit the basis of the problem and it will go a long way to preventing type 2 diabetes, along with many other health problems.

Diabetes now uses 10% of NHS drugs bill

Diabetes now accounts for 10% of the NHS drugs bill in England, according to official figures and the latest Health and Social Care Information Centre report shows that £869m was spent on drugs for the disease last year which marks a sharp rise from the £514m being spent on the drugs a decade ago, when they accounted for just 6.6% of the prescriptions budget.

The figures include drugs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes which affect 2.8 million people in England alone. It includes insulin, metformin and other anti-diabetic drugs.

Ian Bullard, who wrote the report, said: “It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England alone is being spent on managing diabetes. Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by over 1 million people. With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste and the government must act now.

“Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, and 80% of this is spent on managing avoidable complications. So there is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.

Educating the public is vital as to how they can prevent the onset of diabetes and other conditions. Now is the time for action. In addition Diabetes UK stresses that the NHS must prioritise better care and ensure that the public know what steps to take to prevent this.

Martin McShane, from NHS England, said: “These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s time to get serious about lifestyle change.”

Improving sleep, stopping snoring, controlling sleep apnoea and eating more healthily combined with losing weight are all key factors in the process.


John Redfern