Most patients with diabetes know their high glucose levels make them more susceptible to oral issues like gum disease, tooth loss and dry mouth. But, perhaps more seriously and certainly less well-known, diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are also related.

While the majority of Americans would agree that a lack of sleep often leads to increased stress levels and trouble concentrating, what most don’t realize is that poor sleep health actually contributes to issues like obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The relationship between OSA and diabetes

It’s estimated that 8 percent of American adults have diabetes, 90 percent of which is classified as type 2 diabetes, and approximately one in five adults suffers from at least mild sleep apnea.

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can both serve as signs you have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, and diabetics are at greater risk of developing OSA. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, estimates suggest that up to 40 percent of people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea will have diabetes.

Because sleep apnea affects the concentration of oxygen within the bloodstream and interrupts sleep patterns, it is possible that OSA exerts adverse effects on glucose metabolism, already a key problem for diabetics. Studies have found a positive association between the severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and worsening glucose control. While further research is necessary, it’s possible that treating OSA could improve glycemic control and long-term complications from diabetes

For patients with both diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the affects of each issue are compounded and can lead to greater risk of silent or major strokes, as well as heart disease and depression. The American Diabetes Association published a study that found “because both diabetes and OSA are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, it is possible that the presence of both conditions result in additive or even synergistic health risks.”

Improve your sleep health – and your overall health

The key for diabetics with sleep apnea or sleep disorders is to improve airflow and deep sleep. Our trained sleep disorder dentists at Caffaratti Dental Group can diagnose and help treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disordered Breathing, which also improves complications from other related diseases. We offer a take-home sleep test that’s worn in your normal environment, providing a better overall profile of your typical sleep patterns and sleep health than a traditional sleep study.

Depending on your results and severity of OSA, our oral appliance therapy can be an excellent alternative to a CPAP machine or surgery. When we treat OSA with oral appliances, they actually remodel the upper airway and permanently move the lower jaw forward into a more natural position, increasing the size of the airway and dramatically improving your ability to breathe. We will work with you and your general physician to determine if oral appliance therapy is the right pathway to better sleep health for you.

Start your journey to better sleep by taking this short quiz to see if you may be suffering from OSA. Then, schedule your FREE consultation with our team.