Optimal treatment of sleep apnea in patients with prediabetes improves blood sugar (glucose) levels and thus can reduce cardiometabolic risk, according to a study presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia.
“Sleep apnea, a condition associated with breathing disturbances during sleep, is known to be associated with abnormalities in glucose metabolism, but whether treatment of sleep apnea has any beneficial effects on glucose metabolism is still under investigation,” said lead author Sushmita Pamidi, MD, of the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.”We have studied patients with sleep apnea and prediabetes, a condition defined as higher than normal blood glucose levels but not high enough to be considered diabetes. We found that optimal treatment of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for two weeks led to significant improvements in glucose levels following an oral glucose challenge without affecting insulin secretion, suggesting an improvement in insulin sensitivity.”
The study included 39 adults with sleep apnea and prediabetes who were randomized to two weeks of either CPAP treatment or placebo tablet. Before and after the treatment period, study participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test, a test that measures the body’s ability to use glucose. Subjects slept each night in the research laboratory, ensuring optimal adherence to CPAP treatment. Glucose tolerance, insulin secretion, and insulin sensitivity, all markers for the risk of diabetes, were measured. Subjects were also monitored for the quantity and quality of sleep, 24 hour blood pressure, heart rate, weight, energy expenditure, and hormones affecting diabetes risk.
“Effective treatment of OSA is known to have a positive impact on a number of important health outcomes, and in our study we observed beneficial effects on glucose metabolism,” said principal investigator, Esra Tasali, MD, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Chicago.