Apnea Linked to Nerve Damage In Diabetics

Wed, Jun 20, 2012

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been linked to nerve damage in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers found the degree of nerve damage, known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, depends on the severity of the sleep apnea and the resulting blood oxygen desaturation which occurs while the sufferers are asleep. 

The study of 234 adults with type 2 diabetes found that sleep apnea was independently associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy even after allowance was made for other factors such as obesity, ethnicity, gender, age at diabetes diagnosis, and the length of time a person had diabetes.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Obstructive sleep apnea is known to be associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, so we hypothesized that it would be associated with peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes," said lead author Dr. Abd Tahrani, a clinical lecturer in endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Birmingham in England.

The study authors also said further research is needed to determine the role of sleep apnea and low blood oxygen levels in the development and progression of nerve damage in patients with type 2 diabetes, and to assess the potential impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, a diagnostic sleep study is needed to determine the nature and severity of your condition.  An appropriate form of treatment can then be prescribed by a specialist sleep physician. 

Sleep studies can now be performed in the comfort, convenience and privacy of your own home.  To find out more, call 1300 246 637 or click the button below to make an online enquiry.

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