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Sleep Apnea Tied to High Blood Glucose Levels Among Blacks

Authors call for more sleep apnea screening in high-risk groups

man sleeping

MONDAY, May 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans with severe sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood glucose levels, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Yuichiro Yano, M.D., Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues analyzed data from 789 black Americans (mean age, 63 years; 74 percent women) who completed home sleep apnea testing and seven-day wrist actigraphy between 2012 and 2016. Associations between sleep characteristics (eight exposures) and three blood glucose-level factors were evaluated.

The researchers found that 25 percent of the participants had diabetes mellitus and 20 percent were taking antihyperglycemic medication. For each increase in standard deviation (SD), the betas for fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c were 0.13 mmol/L and 1.11 mmol/mol, respectively, for respiratory event index with a 4 percent oxygen desaturation, and they were 0.16 mmol/L and 0.77 mmol/mol, respectively, for fragmented sleep indices when adjusting for antihyperglycemic medication use as well as other factors. In an analysis of the 589 participants without diabetes mellitus, the betas for homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance for each SD increase were 1.09 for a respiratory event index associated with 4 percent oxygen desaturation, 0.90 for minimum oxygen saturation, and 1.07 for fragmented sleep indices.

"The study underscores the importance of developing interventions to promote regular sleep schedules, particularly in those with diabetes," Yano said in a statement. "It also reaffirms the need to improve the screening and diagnosis of sleep apnea, both in African-Americans and other groups."

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