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Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Date:1/8/2009

Treatment may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Here's a wake-up call to the millions of American men and women with type 2 diabetes: Snoring at night or nodding off during the day may be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening problem affecting one out of three diabetics.

Based on strong preliminary evidence linking the two disorders, global health experts are encouraging physicians to assess their diabetic patients for sleep apnea symptoms and to screen sleep apnea sufferers for metabolic disease. The recommendation comes from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention.

"It is probably too early to see any concrete evidence of changes in practice, but there is little doubt that awareness of the importance of screening people with diabetes and people with sleep apnea for the other condition is rising," said Dr. Jonathan Shaw, associate professor at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and lead author of the IDF task force consensus statement, which was issued last June.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person's airway becomes blocked during sleep. It's usually caused by the collapse of soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep. Between snores, breathing stops for a period of 10 seconds or longer, and this pattern repeats itself multiples times over the course of a night.

Not only does it deprive the person of a good night's sleep, but it may increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, according to the IDF.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects just 2 percent of women and 4 percent of men in the general population, the IDF noted. But it's much more prevalent among diabetics.

In a recent report in the journal Endocrine Practice, researchers examined data from 279 men and woman with type 2 diabetes. Overall, 36 percent had obstru
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