More than a bad night's sleep: Sleep apnea widely undiagnosed among obese type 2 diabetics

May 21, 2009

Sleep apnea has long been known to be associated with obesity. But a new study published in the June issue of Diabetes Care finds that the disorder is widely undiagnosed among obese individuals with type 2 diabetes - nearly 87 percent of participants reported symptoms, but were never diagnosed.

For those with untreated , it doesn't just mean their sleep is disrupted; existing research shows that it can also mean an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

"The high prevalence of undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated sleep apnea among with diabetes constitutes a serious public health problem," said Gary Foster, PhD, lead author and director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.

The new study, called Sleep AHEAD, looked at 306 obese patients with type 2 diabetes already enrolled in the Look AHEAD trial, a 16-site study investigating the long-term health impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention in 5, 145 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes.

Each participant had a sleep study (polysomnogram) that measures various breathing and during sleep. Participants also filled out a series of questions about symptoms related to sleep (snoring, during the day), and had their weight, height, waist and neck circumferences measured.

Researchers found that 86.6 percent of participants had sleep apnea, yet reported never being diagnosed. More than 30 percent of these had between 16 and 20 episodes per hour where they would stop breathing, and 22 percent had more than 30 episodes per hour, considered severe sleep apnea. Most of these also had a larger waist circumference, which researchers found, along with higher BMI, to be significantly associated with sleep apnea.

has long been known to be associated with sleep apnea, but researchers say that these findings are alarming.

"Doctors who have obese patients with need to be aware of the possibility of apnea, even if no symptoms are present, especially in cases where the patient has a high BMI or waist circumference," said Foster.

Currently, more than half of obese or overweight individuals have diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Source: Temple University (news : web)

Explore further: A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Impact of whooping cough vaccination revealed

7 hours ago

The most comprehensive study to date of the family of bacteria that causes whooping cough points to more effective vaccine strategies and reveals surprising findings about the bacteria's origin and evolution. The new results ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

A Michigan State University researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help.

Man among first in US to get 'bionic eye' (Update)

A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure ...