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Endocr Pract. 2007 Jul-Aug;13(4):355-62.

Prevalence of sleep apnea in a population of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.



To assess the prevalence of sleep apnea (SA) in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and examine whether demographics and comorbid factors were associated with SA in this population.


This study enrolled 330 consecutive adults with T2DM referred to a diabetes clinic, 279 of whom completed the study. Evaluation of the presence of SA was performed with use of a single-channel recording device that measures disordered breathing events from a nasal cannula airflow signal. The device was worn by the study participants in their home, after instruction in appropriate use by clinical staff at the diabetes center. The presence and severity of SA were determined by use of an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), reflecting periods of diminished and absent breathing. Demographic and medical information data were collected to detect factors associated with SA in this study population. In addition, a time and cost analysis was conducted regarding the screening process for SA by clinical staff at the diabetes center.


The results show a high prevalence of SA in adults with T2DM, ranging from 48% (AHI level of >or=10 events/h) to 29% (AHI level of >or=20 events/h). At an AHI cutoff value of >or=15 events/h, the overall prevalence rate was 36% (49% in male and 21% in female participants). The following variables were associated with SA: age >or=62 years, male sex, body mass index >or=30 kg/m2, snoring, and reports of stopping breathing during sleep. The time and cost analysis showed that the screening device involved minimal setup time, was simple to use, and was a cost-effective method to screen for SA.


SA is a common disorder associated with major morbid conditions, including hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance. Predisposing factors for SA and T2DM are similar. This study showed that SA has a high prevalence in adults with T2DM and identified factors that may be associated with its presence in this population. Assessment for SA can be easily performed in an outpatient setting with a portable recording device such as the one used in this study. Screening for SA should be considered in the T2DM population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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