Archive for November 13th, 2007

Snoring and The Risk of Diabetes

November 13, 2007

Just came back from a successful preceptorship at the UCSF- Stanford University- Whittier Institute for Diabetes in San Francisco and San Diego.  There were only 10 MDs from the Asia Pacific region being taught by more that 12 professors.  It’s actually more than a 1:1 learning from the 4th Best institution in Endocrinology from the survey in The US News and World Report 2007.

One very interesting topic we discussed was snoring and the risk of developing diabetes.  Needless to say…snroing can be very common and yet often negelcted symptom.  We alwaus associatet snoring as… the person is either being too tried from work or just in a deep good night sleep.  But now studies have shown that snoring is indeed an unhealthy sign of future disease risk.

In a study published in the Journal of Epidimeology… it was noted that snoring actually increases a persons risk to develop Diabetes….


Purpose: To examine the association between snoring and risk of developing type II diabetes mellitus, the authors analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study cohort.

Methods: This analysis included 69,852 US female nurses aged 40–65 years without diagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline in 1986. Snoring patterns were ascertained by questionnaire.

Results: During 10 years of follow-up, 1,957 women were diagnosed with type II diabetes. In analyses adjusted for age and body mass index, snoring was associated with risk of diabetes

  1. for occasional snoring vs. nonsnoring, relative risk (RR) = 1.48 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29, 1.70);
  2. for regular snoring vs. nonsnoring, RR = 2.25 (95% CI: 1.91, 2.66); p for trend < 0.0001).
  3. Analyses stratified by body mass index, smoking history, or parental history of diabetes showed a consistent association between snoring and diabetes within the categories of these variables.

Conclusion: These results suggest that snoring is independently associated with elevated risk of type II diabetes.


Snoring can be benign but can also be due to a more difficult disease called Obstructive Sleep Apnea where patients intermittently stop breathing with episodes of snoring suggesting obstruction.  Inability to breath causes them to cough and then resume sleeping.  Unfortunately these patients dont get into deep sleep and therefore feels tired when they wake up and tend to sleep or nap while awake in the chair or anywhere they feel sleepy.

We now know lack of sleep can be a stress factor that can contribute to increasing ones risk to develop diabetes.  It is therefore not surprising that snoring as a sign of sleep apnea is one way of being sleep debt!

Treating sleep apnea therefore in a person who is diabetic or at risk to develop diabetes can definitely have an impact on ones health…by improving his risk profile and improving blood sugar control.

My recommendation therefore for all  my diabetics who snore is to get a sleep study.  The sleep lab can determine what kind of sleep disorder one has and then implement measures to help one sleep including the administration of a CPAP machine.

Ask your partner if you snore… discuss it with your specialist and demand for a sleep study.  Treating sleep apnea can have a tremendous impact in controlling your blood sugar including ones risk to be overweight!  Plus.. you feel better when you wake up and a better sense of well being.

Snoring Can Be Bad For Your Health!