Diabetes and sleep apnea

Among people with diabetes, the prevalence of sleep apnea is very high (up to 58%).1 Similarly, there is a high prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes among people with sleep apnea (in one study 50% of male sleep apnea patients had abnormal glucose tolerance, and 30% of them had diabetes).2

Obesity is a common and contributing factor to both sleep apnea and diabetes. However, despite the significance of obesity in both these diseases, studies have shown that sleep apnea is an additional contributing factor that is independently associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, regardless of obesity.3,4 Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes.

CPAP may improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in patients with sleep apnea, particularly for non-obese patients.5,6