The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) is reporting that women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are nearly seven times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other pregnant women. The new study, summarized in the Medical Press, also reiterates the comorbidities of stroke and cardiovascular disease associated with sleep apnea.
Clinically speaking, gestational diabetes causes glucose levels in the bloodstream to rise above normal levels. This form of diabetes occurs during pregnancy, typically in the second trimester.
“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.”
Sleep labs may wish to consider the apnea connection to gestational diabetes as yet another way to expand the patient base by working with nearby maternity wards. “Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes should be considered for evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea,” said Reutrakul, “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.”