Patients with type 2 diabetes who have sleep apnea may be able to lower their glucose levels by treating their breathing disorder. The small study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine (February 28, 2005), included 25 patients with type 2 diabetes diagnosed with sleep apnea who underwent standard treatment for the condition. The participants were predominately male, with an average age of 50, and severely obese, with an average body mass index of 42.
For the study, the patients were required to undergo continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The test involved patients going to bed wearing a mask over the nose or nostrils that is attached to a machine that blows air through the upper respiratory tract. The researchers found with the CPAP test that the participants'overall hemoglobin levels dropped 0.5%, a similar reduction reached with medication, according to study author James Herdegen, MD.