AskNadia: Trouble Sleeping and Feeling Rested

Dear Nadia,

I have type 2 diabetes and have trouble sleeping and feeling rested. I live alone and wonder if I might have sleep Apnea?

Boise Idaho
Dear James,

Sleep Apnea affects 22 million people in the United States. Interestingly enough, 80% of these people don’t know they have it. If you feel tired after 8 hours of sleep, you could have sleep apnea.

If you had trouble sleeping before your type 2 diabetes diagnosis, chances are that your inability to sleep through the night may have contributed to your type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientist have found a pre-diabetes connection to this particular sleeping disorder.

If left untreated, you could be at risk for other cardiovascular diseases.
Fifty percent of the population that have diabetes, high blood pressure, and one form of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure are at risk for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea definition:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects your breathing while sleeping. Your sleep is frequently interrupted by the relaxing of your palate, tongue, and larynx. This combination relaxes your throat, creating a block and prevents you from inhaling oxygen. Once the oxygen is cut off for a certain amount of time, your brain triggers your body to inhale, and you suddenly gasp for air.

How well you sleep, how many interruptions, and how long theses interruptions persist for, can only be determined by a sleeping study.

Most Common Symptoms for Sleep Apnea:

~ Snoring
~ Waking up gasping for air
~ Inability to sleep through the night
~ Inability to focus during the day and
~ Difficulty in staying awake during the day
~ Inability to sleep through the night
~ Feeling irritable
~ Depression
~ Experience a dry throat and or mouth after awakening

You mentioned you live alone which means you don’t have someone that can observe these symptoms for you. So, in your case, I would recommend setting up a recording device while you sleep. A smartphone that stays plugged into the electrical outlet would be ideal. This way your battery does not run out of juice and you can videotape or use an audio app to record your activities while sleeping.

Ask your physician to test you if your recordings reveal that you have some these symptoms.

Causes for Sleep Apnea:

~ The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that half of the people that experience sleep apnea are overweight.

~ Men are more likely to be diagnosed than women.

~ Physiological differences such as having large tonsils with a narrow throat. Or narrow airways in your nose and mouth contribute to sleep apnea

~ Age and a family disposition can put you at a higher risk and

~ Smokers are at a higher risk of being diagnosed.

Sleep Apnea treatments:

~ Loosing weight if you are overweight since the circumference of your neck is a factor.

~ Start using a CPAP (pronounced See-Pap) machine. This is an air pressurized machine with a mask that covers your nose. If you find the CPAP difficult to use there are other CPAP devices that adjust the air pressure when you are asleep.

~ Surgery may be appropriate to expand narrow air passages.

~ Oral appliances that keep your airways open and free from obstruction are provided by dentist

If you are interested in reading more articles on sleep apnea, I have selected a few you might enjoy reading.
Sleep Apnea Prevention Project
Sleep Apnea is No Laughing Matter



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Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia holds 11 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

For 25 years, Diabetes Health contributes free copies of the magazine to healthcare professionals and pharmacies that use the publication as an educational resource for patients living with diabetes.

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