Snoring linked to diabetes
Snoring may do more than just disturb others. It could also raise the risk of developing diabetes. People who snore on a regular basis have a two fold risk of developing diabetes independent of other risk factors such as obesity.
The research was carried out at the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. The researchers based their findings on previous studies that have shown some connection between blocked airway passages, common in snoring and sleep apnea, and the subsequent development of high blood pressure and heart disease. They suspected that those who snore could also be at a higher risk of developing diabetes because sleep apnea, often associated with snoring, has been found to be more common among diabetics than healthy adults.
The investigators collected data from the Nurses' Health Study. This is a long-term prospective study that has followed more than 100,000 women for 25 years. In 1986, nearly 70,000 of the women answered a questionnaire about how often they snored. Every 2 years for the next 10 years participants were asked whether they had developed diabetes. Snoring and diabetes are both known to be linked to obesity. The researchers therefore expected to find that any elevated risk of developing diabetes among those who snored would be related to being overweight (obese). However it was found that there was an increased risk of diabetes in those who snored regularly regardless of their weight.
The researchers took into account the women's body mass index, weight to hip ratio, as well as weight gain over the decade. It was found that women who snored infrequently at a slightly elevated risk of diabetes while those who snored frequently were at double the risk. Snoring can impair the intake of oxygen. This in turn may trigger the body to produce higher levels of compounds known as catecholamines. The increase in catecholamines can lead to insulin resistance, which is a known precursor of diabetes.
These findings suggest that snoring should be added to the list of other potential risk factors for diabetes such as a family history, smoking and obesity. Medical assistance sought at the early stages of this snoring problem could possibly help in averting the development of diabetes.
American Journal of Epidemiology March 2002, Vol. 155(5)
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