It’s National Diabetes Month, and medical professionals are doing their best to raise awareness about the disease, given that over 30 million Americans are currently living with Type 2 diabetes. Dentists are very much involved in the discussion because data shows the connection between sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. Read on to find out how these two medical conditions are related and what can be done to help patients rest better at night.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
For people suffering with Type 2 diabetes, their bodies struggle to process and transport glucose to the vital organs and muscles that need it. Thus, insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) and glucose can sit in the blood and become toxic.
The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can, many times, be managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
What is Sleep Apnea?
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This refers to the reoccurring lapse in breathing while sleeping that’s brought on by a partial blockage of the airway. Some of the usual warning signs are loud snoring, daytime lethargy, moodiness and morning headaches.
For patients who’ve been diagnosed with OSA, a dentist can help to restore a normal sleep pattern and prevent lapses in breathing by providing treatment with a C-PAP machine, a custom oral appliance or a combination of the two methods.
The Connection Between Type 2 Diabetes and OSA
The reason Type 2 diabetes and OSA have been juxtaposed is that they share common risk factors. Here are some of the traits that can be found among people with both conditions:
People who are obese have a higher amount of visceral fat, which can contribute to issues with regulating their blood sugar levels. There can also be increased neck girth that causes the throat muscles to collapse while sleeping, which can contribute to bouts of apnea.
Hormones play an active role in maintaining health. Thus, when a person is under constant stress, the chemical messengers can cause interruptions in the sleep cycle and the release of stored glucose into the liver, which can eventually contribute to insulin resistance.
How Your Dentist Can Help
To properly treat diabetes and sleep apnea requires a team effort. At a minimum, a person dealing with these two conditions will need the care of a physician and sleep dentist. The first step, though, is to receive an accurate diagnosis, which is something you’ll need to visit your doctor for.
Then, if you’re found to have sleep apnea, your sleep dentist can provide you with the expert care you need. To learn more about sleep apnea in Plano, TX, and to get on the road to recovery, contact your local sleep dentist today to schedule a visit.
About the Author
Dr. Jason L. Montgomery understands the power and importance of a good night’s sleep. Thus, the Baylor College of Dentistry graduate does everything within his power to help his patients recover from sleep apnea at his private practice. Dr. Montgomery can be reached for more information through his website.