There is currently much discussion about the relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes. What is known for sure is that sleep apnea is a condition that causes sleep disturbances, leaving you feeling tired throughout the day. Proper sleep is essential for restoring and renewing body systems. The ability to concentrate during the day without getting adequate sleep can be drastically diminished. Driving can be dangerous under these conditions.
Besides hindering mental abilities, lack of sleep causes metabolic disturbances that can lead to serious health consequences; among them, diabetes. These metabolic changes caused by lack of sleep include insulin resistance and altered fat storage, which leads to weight gain. Obesity can be a risk factor for sleep apnea and it may be unclear if the obesity caused the sleep apnea or if the sleep apnea led to the weight gain. Without splitting hairs about cause and effect, suffice it to say that sleep apnea should be properly diagnosed and treated.
A proper diagnosis of sleep apnea is made in a sleep lab, where a patient is asked to sleep for one to three nights. The patient is hooked up to electrodes that measure oxygen, breathing and other metrics. Once a definitive diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. Treatment may consist of a weight-loss program, if necessary, and use of a machine, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), that you can use when sleeping to help the exchange of oxygen so that you don't stop breathing while asleep. A good night's sleep is one prescription that will never change!