Treating sleep disorders in people with type 2 diabetes could improve health outcomes, a review of the literature has found

By Editor
24th August 2021
Research, Type 2 diabetes

An evaluation of the literature on the prevalence of sleep disorders in type 2 diabetes and its association with negative health outcomes has led to a recommendation that more effort should be made to diagnose and treat sleep disorders.

The study by researchers in the Netherlands and America identified as that sleep problems are linked to development of type 2 diabetes and increase the risk of developing diabetes complications, the treatment of sleep disorders could play an important role in the prevention of the progression of the condition.

The team conducted a literature search in PubMed from its inception until January 2021, using relevant key words. They found that insomnia (39% [95% CI 34, 44]), obstructive sleep apnoea (55–86%) and restless legs syndrome (8–45%) were more prevalent in people with type 2 diabetes, compared with the general population.

In addition, a number of other studies showed that sleep disorders negatively affect health outcomes in at least one area of diabetes, especially glycaemic control, with insomnia associated with increased HbA1c levels.

The research also highlighted that further investigation into this subject area is required, as there have been few randomised controlled trials that examine the effect of treating sleep disorders in people with type 2 diabetes.

The authors conclude that “sleep disorders are highly prevalent in people with type 2 diabetes, negatively affecting health outcomes. Since treatment of the sleep disorder could prevent diabetes progression, efforts should be made to diagnose and treat sleep disorders in type 2 diabetes in order to ultimately improve health and therefore quality of life.”

Dr Femke Rutters, Assistant Professor at the department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, led the research team, which was made up of colleagues from Amsterdam UMC, the University of Chicago, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute and the Centre of Expertise on Sleep and Psychiatry in the Netherlands.

Read the report in full here.

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