SNORE a lot? Maybe you have diabetes. People with sleep apnoea, who briefly stop breathing and snort themselves awake, often also have type 2 diabetes - and vice versa. In fact, the evidence of a link is so strong that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is urging doctors treating patients with one condition to test for the other.
"There's no question about the link," says Paul Zimmet, co-chairman of the IDF's task force on epidemiology and prevention, based in Melbourne, Australia. The IDF says that 40 per cent of patients with apnoea have diabetes, while about 23 per cent of diabetics have apnoea (Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2008.04.025).
Identifying both diseases saves lives, says Zimmet. Sleep apnoea is the commonest treatable cause of both high blood pressure and heart failure. Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes can also be fatal but is easily managed with the right diet and insulin.
The race is now on to identify all patients who have both and to investigate the cause of the link.