Sticking with CPAP Therapy Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

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If your doctor prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea, here’s more motivation to stick with it: Strict adherence might help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This finding is from a study reported in 2017 in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Researchers analyzed information from 925 people (median age, 55 years) included in a database of sleep clinic patients. Participants had completed a sleep questionnaire, and measurements of fasting blood glucose and weight were obtained. Those with confirmed OSA began CPAP therapy. At follow-up (median, five months), 36 participants had outstanding compliance with directions for CPAP use, meaning that they used their devices at least 90 percent of nights for eight hours per night; 118 were excellent compliers (at least 80 percent of nights for six hours); and 117 were good compliers (at least 70 percent of nights for at least four hours per night).

Although weight increased in those being treated with CPAP, none of the outstanding or excellent compliers and less than 1 percent of the good compliers developed type 2 diabetes. However, 4 percent of the noncompliers developed the condition.

This observational study does not prove that consistent CPAP use lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, consistent use has been proven to improve sleep apnea symptoms.