What We’re Reading: Sleep Apnea

Scott Johnson of Scott’s Diabetes Journal[1] recently blogged about his years of sleep troubles[2]. Loud snoring and daytime fatigue had become the norm for him. In November, he began to wonder whether his symptoms pointed to a more serious problem and decided to go in for a sleep study.

What’s a sleep study? The picture at the bottom of Scott’s post[3] tells the story. A person who goes in for a sleep study is hooked up to various sensors and instructed to sleep for a while in a quiet room. There, the sensors monitor his brain wave activity, muscle movement, heart rate, and breathing, checking for any abnormalities.


One of these abnormalities is a condition called sleep apnea[4]. A person with sleep apnea has restricted airways and stops breathing during sleep for longer than 10 seconds at a time (and may wake up hundreds of times during the night). As would be expected, sleep apnea can lead to sometimes-debilitating fatigue. It can also put people at greater risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. (See “Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes: A Vicious Circle”[5] for more information on the connection.) Being tired may also make it more difficult to maintain a healthful diet and follow through with a diabetes management program.

When Scott went to get his sleep study results late last month, the diagnosis was sleep apnea. The test results showed that he woke up almost once a minute during the night and stopped breathing for long stretches. He was instructed to start using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which sends a continuous stream of air through the nose and down the throat. So far, Scott says the results of his therapy have been promising[6].

This blog post was written by Assistant Editor David Golann.

  1. Scott’s Diabetes Journal: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/johnson
  2. years of sleep troubles: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/johnson/2008/11/studying-sleep.php
  3. Scott’s post: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/johnson/2008/11/studying-sleep.php
  4. sleep apnea: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/Sleep_Apnea
  5. “Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes: A Vicious Circle”: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Alternative_Medicine_Complementary_Therapies/Sleep_Apnea_and_Type_2_Diabetes
  6. have been promising: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/johnson/2008/12/im-sleeping-great.php

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