Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Is there a connection between diabetes and sleep apnea?

Q. I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Is there any connection between the two?

A. There's one sure connection between type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea: if you're overweight, you have an increased risk of developing both conditions. But it's an unsettled question whether sleep apnea might somehow increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, usually develops during adulthood among people who are overweight. Being overweight causes cells to resist the effects of insulin, a hormone that drives sugar (glucose) from the blood into cells. When cells resist the effects of insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. If that happens consistently, type 2 diabetes develops.

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