People with high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes should be screened for sleep apnea, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person stops breathing for periods during the night, leading to disrupted sleep and daytime fatigue. It’s been linked with a host of health problems, including heart disease and depression. Testing for the condition involves undergoing overnight sleep monitoring by a board-certified sleep doctor.
“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,” Dr. M. Safwan Badr, M.D., president of the AASM, said in a statement. “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.”
Badr further explained that treating sleep apnea could improve glucose levels and insulin sensitivity among people with Type 2 diabetes. And for people with hypertension, treating sleep apnea could lower blood pressure and thereby lower your risks for other heart problems.
The main recommended treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which works by blowing air into your nose and mouth via a mask while you sleep.