Sleep apnea has been linked with elevated blood sugar levels in new research that suggests people who suffer from the disorder may face increased risks for Type 2 diabetes.
The findings, published online in the European Respiratory Journal, add to a growing body of evidence indicating apnea boosts the odds of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
The research is based on an analysis of nearly 5,300 European patients with the disorder whose average levels of blood glucose were measured over time.
The results showed that moderate to high levels of blood glucose were significantly linked with the severity of sleep apnea.
Researcher Walter McNicholas said the findings highlight the need for doctors to be aware of the risks of diabetes when treating people with sleep apnea.
"This is the largest study of its kind showing a link between sleep apnea severity and glucose levels," he said. "Clinicians need to focus on diabetes as an important co-existing illness when treating people with sleep apnea.
"Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms behind these two conditions. I would also emphasize to patients the importance of weight control as a way to reduce the risks associated with the condition."
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