April 24, 2014

Sleep Apnea Makes Diabetes Harder to Manage

This study conducted in Europe supposedly, is not news to me because I have sleep apnea. It just confirms what I am already aware of and can't get one person I know to wear his CPAP mask. He has type 2 diabetes and it is poorly managed. He now refuses to tell me his A1c results because he knows that I will tell him that his sleep apnea is making his diabetes more difficult to manage.

I am not sure why he will not use his CPAP, but I know he is constantly overtired. Recently, he lost his job because of falling asleep at work and this endangered other workers. This of course has made him more upset and I have been very careful about what I say to him. However, I still ask him why he will not use his CPAP. I have informed him that he would be able to manage his diabetes more effectively.

I do tell him that with sleep apnea, he could die in his sleep when he can't recover from an apnea. He just laughs at me and all I can do is shake my head. I finally had a talk with his doctor and urged him to consider an intervention. His doctor would not say anything because of HIPAA and I just said I was informing him of a problem with this patient.

The study is not really useful as it was done with non-diabetic people. I could not confirm this, but I could not find that it had random controls as part of it. At least it was not U.S. taxpayer money wasted on a useless study.

I doubt that sleep doctors will consider this warrants attention and screening for diabetes as the lead author tries to point out.

Since I have type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, I can confirm how important it is to use my CPAP equipment – actually a BiPAP machine. I use my equipment every night and my sleep apnea is a non-factor in the management of my diabetes as a result.

Some of the reasons people refuse to use their sleep apnea equipment include:
  1. Vanity – they don't feel sexy or manly wearing the mask
  2. Some feel wearing the mask is claustrophobic
  3. Some do not like the lines that the mask straps cause in their skin because they have the straps too tight
  4. Many complain about the noise the machine makes
  5. Many have a problem with the air leaks around the mask because they aren't properly fitted or having a mask that fits properly

I have several blogs about these problems, but feel that number 3 and 5 above can be solved if people would consider nasal mask liners as discussed in my blog here. Noise can be a problem for some, but the noise has been decreased in recent years, especially in the newer machines, and should not be the problem of older CPAP machines.

Another factor is having the mask properly fitted by a sleep specialist. Many people do not do this and blame the manufacturer for their bad decision or they just won't ask the right questions.

If you have sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, please do yourself a favor and use your equipment as you will feel better and manage you diabetes more easily.

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