According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, women with gestational diabetes could have up to a 75% chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea. The study investigated sleep patterns of 15 women with gestational diabetes and compared the test results with test results from 15 non-diabetic, non-pregnant women and 15 non-diabetic, non-pregnant women.
Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy-induced form of diabetes that typically develops in the second trimester of pregnancy. Glucose tolerance testing is commonly ordered as a predictive test as part of prenatal care to detect gestational diabetes as early as possible. Even if a glucose tolerance test is not performed, urine tests in office will show glucose in urine prompting the test if gestational diabetes develops.
Gestational diabetes can be a dangerous condition for a pregnant woman, but with daily glucose monitoring, dietary changes and medication the condition can be kept under control to prevent harm to mother or child. Now, doctors are saying obstructive sleep apnea is widely prevalent in women with gestational diabetes, but there is a small issue with the study results.
Most of the women with gestational diabetes who underwent the sleep study were overweight or obese. Sleep apnea is more common in overweight and obese individuals than it is in people of normal weight. Even if the pregnant women were not diagnosed with sleep apnea prior to pregnancy it does not mean they did not suffer from the condition. To support this point, researchers go on to say previous research has associated sleep apnea with an increased risk of diabetes.
So, are women with gestational diabetes at increased risk of sleep apnea or are women with sleep apnea at increased risk of gestational diabetes?
Source: N. Zaidi, K. Wroblewski, H. Kay, M. Ismail, D. Ehrmann, E. Van Cauter. Interactions Between Pregnancy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. August 20, 2013.