gestational diabetesWomen who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes bear seven times probability of suffering with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)  compared to the other pregnant women. A most recent research study concluded and due to be published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) revealed

Pregnancy is associated with sleep disturbances. Sleep is more disturbed in GDM than in P-NGT women. There is a strong association between GDM and OSA.

Prime objective of the research study was to assess the relationship between pregnancy, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) , and GDM.

“It is common for pregnant women to experience sleep disruptions, but the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea increases substantially in women who have gestational diabetes,” said Sirimon Reutrakul, MD, who conducted the research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Nearly 75 percent of the participants in our study who had gestational diabetes also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea.” 

The researchers conducted observational case-control studies using polysomnography in 15 nonpregnant, nondiabetic women (NP-NGT), 15 pregnant women with normal glucose tolerance (P-NGT), and 15 pregnant women with GDM (P-GDM). The groups were frequency matched for age and race/ethnicity. Pregnant women were studied during the late second to early third trimester.

Measuring the major outcomes of this study the researchers made comparisons of OSA diagnosis and sleep parameters between NP-NGT and P-NGT to assess the impact of pregnancy and between P-NGT and P-GDM to explore the association between GDM and OSA.

 Compared with NP-NGT, P-NGT women had a higher apnea hypopnea index (AHI) and more disrupted sleep as reflected by a higher wake time after sleep onset and a higher micro-arousal index.

Among the pregnant women, P-GDM had markedly lower total sleep time and a higher AHI than P-NGT women. OSA was more prevalent in P-GDM than in P-NGT women. After adjustment for pre-pregnancy body mass index, the diagnosis of GDM was associated with a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

In pregnancy, after adjusting for pre-pregnancy body mass index, higher micro-arousal index significantly associated with higher glycosylated hemoglobin and fasting glucose levels. Higher oxygen desaturation index was associated with higher fasting glucose levels.

“Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes should be considered for evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, especially if other risk factors such as hypertension or obesity are present, and women already diagnosed with sleep apnea should be monitored for signs of gestational diabetes during pregnancy,” Reutrakul said.

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