Snoring and sleep apnoea proved to be a cause of diabetes

A newly published research study that has concluded that Seniors with night-time breathing issues like snoring or sleep apnoea often have high blood sugar, and they may be almost twice as likely as sound sleepers to develop type 2 diabetes.


This extensive and highly accurate study produced findings from some 6,000 U.S. adults who were followed for up to 10 years. The highly conclusive results suggest that doctors may now want to monitor blood sugar in older patients with sleep-disordered breathing much more closely, according to the lead researchers involved at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston.

“Recent evidence suggests that diabetes patients have a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances than the general population,” lead author Linn Beate Strand stated. “However, less is known about whether symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later, especially in older adults,”

Sleep apnoea involves frequent episodes during sleep when the airway closes and people stop breathing entirely. Often breathing resumes abruptly with a loud snort or choking sound, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. These repeated breathing interruptions, which can occur up to 30 times per hour, have been linked to daytime sleepiness and increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes and incidences of sudden death.

Awareness of sleep apnoea all countries is at an all-time peak. Awareness is being raised regularly by both the public media and by social media. Potential sufferers, understandably, are becoming increasingly more concerned about the blockage of oxygen to the brain and other organs, and many more people are recognizing that they have the symptoms and are raising the subject with Sleep Centres or their doctors.

Many more have taken the highly sensible first step of equipping themselves with an oral appliance to treat the problem, as recommended by the NHS, who approve certain tested appliances and issue them to more severely affected patients. The mouthpiece is similar to a typical sports gum shield and is worn at night when sleeping. It usually has an immediate effect and snoring stops overnight in most cases and in the case of sleep apnoea, the more advanced bespoke versions will prevent the main danger involved, which is the regular deprivation of oxygen to the brain.

More and more people are suffering from the dangers caused by both snoring and sleep apnoea, and this is primarily because of lifestyle issues, but mostly due to excessive weight as this will narrow the throat as well as causing the muscles to weaken.

Most previous studies on sleep disorders and diabetes have focused on young or middle-aged adults, the researchers point out in the journal Diabetes Care, but, it is now apparent that sleep apnoea and snoring become more common with age, and needs earlier treatment.

The research found that people with sleep apnoea were nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and that snorers were 27 per cent more likely. Those with daytime sleepiness were also about 50 per cent more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes. The more disturbed-breathing symptoms people had during their sleep, the greater was their risk of diabetes.

The findings suggest that improving sleep quality in adults may reduce their risk of developing diabetes or may even reduce the severity of diabetes in those who are already affected.

Getting good sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to remain healthy during the aging process. However, previously, although any serious sleep disturbance such as snoring has been recognised to cause problems for nearly all aspects of health, it is often ignored when treating diabetes.

If you snore or have symptoms of sleep apnoea it’s important to take preventative measures now because if ignored, it may prove to be too late.

John Redfern