Type 2 Diabetes – Is There a Connection Between Neuropathy and Sleep Apnea in Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes – Is There a Connection Between Neuropathy and Sleep Apnea in Diabetes? – Neuropathy or nerve damage, is one of the chronic complications of diabetes. Nerve damage actually changes the way a body part actually functions and its structure. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can develop this problem. When the damage progresses, the numbness or pain becomes more prevalent. Common symptoms of neuropathy in the feet and legs are:
stinging or burning sensations,
crawling skin,
sharp pain,
high sensitivity to the touch (eg. bed sheets),
pins and needle sensations.
Neuropathy can cause people to have injuries without even realizing it.
Obstructive sleep apnea is another health problem frequently associated with Type 2 diabetes. People with this problem suffer collapsed airways during sleep and stop breathing for short periods of time. Sleep apnea can cause people to feel tired during the day even if they get a normal amount of sleep. It is associated with oxidation and inflammation, leading investigators to suspect it could be associated with diabetic neuropathy.
In July 2012 the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine reported a study by researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The investigators looked at Type 2 diabetics from two hospitals.
A total of 234 diabetics were included in the study. It was found:
the diabetics with obstructive sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to have diabetic neuropathy as the diabetics with normal breathing during sleep.
blood vessel function was also found to be impaired in diabetics with sleep apnea, which the researchers suggested could lead to diabetic neuropathy.
They concluded further studies are needed to discover whether treating sleep apnea could also help to prevent diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic Neuropathy: This problem is caused by damage to nerves in the feet and hands. When the blood vessels do not deliver enough blood to provide nerves with sufficient oxygen and nutrients, nerve damage develops. Now this nerve damage can mean diabetics do not always notice stepping onto something sharp, getting a blister or wound, or touching something too hot or cold.
Unnoticed injuries can lead to serious infections, so preventing neuropathy is important. This is one reason why it is important for diabetics to wear comfortable shoes to protect their feet.
One definite method of prevention is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Another might be preventing or treating sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea: According to doctors at the University of Chicago, the majority of diabetics have sleep apnea. Poor quality sleep makes control of your blood sugar levels difficult, as well as being associated with heart disease.
Sleep apnea is also known to be under-diagnosed. People with Type 2 diabetes who feel sleepy during the day, or who are known to snore and have difficulty controlling blood sugar levels, should mention the problem to their doctor. A machine called CPAP, which helps people to breathe room air, can be helpful. Here’s to getting a good night’s rest.