Treating diabetes can be complicated. There are different types of insulin from short-acting to rapid-acting or premixed. Oral medications to help control blood sugar levels are available too. Dietary changes and getting regular exercise are also important in treating diabetes.
Earlier this year, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that CPAP treatment improves insulin resistance and, as a result, blood sugar levels in patients who have both sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. According to Dr. James Herdegen, the study author and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, “There are overlapping risk factor for both conditions.
There’s no clear connection between sleep apnea and diabetes, but Dr. Herdegen suspects that getting a better night’s sleep may help the body maintain a healthy blood sugar level by controlling hormones and preventing oxidative stress—which also occurs in people with sleep apnea when they body’s tissues don’t get the oxygen they need.
In the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at 25 people with both sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. Each person received CPAP treatment for at least four hours each night for three months. Blood sugar levels were monitored throughout the study. At the end of the study, those who adhered to the treatment showed a reduction in blood sugar levels.
Treating sleep apnea may also improve symptoms of diabetes including improving energy levels.