Researchers have linked sleep apnoea with elevated blood sugar levels, raising fears that people with the condition could be at an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and mortality.
The research analysed 5,294 participants from the multinational European Sleep Apnoea Cohort. The researchers measured levels of HbA1c, which correlates with average plasma glucose concentration. This measurement allows researchers to gain an understanding of blood sugar levels over a period of time.
People with diabetes have higher levels of HbA1c and the risk of developing cardiovascular complications is increased as these levels are raised. (The target levels for HbA1c are 4.09 per cent for non-diabetics and up to 6.5 per cent for diabetics).
The results found that levels of glucose concentration were significantly linked with the severity of sleep apnoea. The participants were divided into groups based on their level of sleep apnoea severity and HbA1c levels rose from 5.24 per cent in the group with lowest severity to 5.50 per cent in the group with the highest severity. The findings highlight the need for clinicians to be aware of the risks of diabetes when treating sleep apnoea.
The findings have been published online in the European Respiratory Journal.