Medical group highlights connection between sleep apnea and hypertension, Type 2 diabetes

American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises patients with conditions to get tested for dangerous sleep disorder

BALTIMORE — People with Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure should be evaluated for sleep apnea, a medical group said Monday.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advised that anyone with the two conditions be evaluated at its annual conference, SLEEP 2013.

According to the group, "overwhelming" evidence from studies has shown that patients with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous condition in which people experience complete or partial obstruction of the airways during sleep. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of the about 25.6 million diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 7-in-10 people with the condition have obstructive sleep apnea. Meanwhile, sleep apnea is estimated to affect 30% to 40% of the 67 million people with hypertension.

"Type 2 diabetics and people with hypertension are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other people, and as a result should immediately discuss their risk for sleep apnea with a sleep specialist," AASM president Safwan Badr said. "Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea from a board-certified sleep medicine physician will promote improvement in these conditions, including improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol."


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