Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cloudy Forecast for Type II Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

A new study in Diabetes Care estimates that the diabetes population is expected to double in the next 25 years, from 23 million currently to 44 million.

This rise will put a heavy burden on the health system. In a Chicago Tribune article on the study, Dr. Holly Kramer explained that diabetes is dangerous and costly. One reason is that diabetics have a high risk for developing other diseases, including sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea happens with the soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses during sleep. Apneics may stop breathing for a minute or longer, hundreds of times a night. Their brain wakes them up to breathe again, interrupting their sleep. These arousals can cause serious side effects.

The good news is that many dentists can treat this condition. A dentist can use an oral appliance to keep his or her patient’s airway from collapsing during sleep. This therapy helps the patient get the restorative sleep he or she needs. Many dentists are trained in oral appliance therapy.

Sleep apnea and diabetes are closely related. People with sleep apnea also have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Despite the forecast, treating sleep apnea is one way to decrease your risk for diabetes.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.