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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
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Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Winter Is Tough on Feet
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Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
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Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
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The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
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Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
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Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
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Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
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Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
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Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
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INFECTIOUS DISEASE
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INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
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Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
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MENTAL HEALTH
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Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
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Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
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Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Here's a wake-up call to the millions of American men and women with type 2 diabetes: Snoring at night or nodding off during the day may be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening problem affecting one out of three diabetics.

Based on strong preliminary evidence linking the two disorders, global health experts are encouraging physicians to assess their diabetic patients for sleep apnea symptoms and to screen sleep apnea sufferers for metabolic disease. The recommendation comes from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention.

"It is probably too early to see any concrete evidence of changes in practice, but there is little doubt that awareness of the importance of screening people with diabetes and people with sleep apnea for the other condition is rising," said Dr. Jonathan Shaw, associate professor at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and lead author of the IDF task force consensus statement, which was issued last June.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person's airway becomes blocked during sleep. It's usually caused by the collapse of soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep. Between snores, breathing stops for a period of 10 seconds or longer, and this pattern repeats itself multiples times over the course of a night.

Not only does it deprive the person of a good night's sleep, but it may increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, according to the IDF.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects just 2 percent of women and 4 percent of men in the general population, the IDF noted. But it's much more prevalent among diabetics.

In a recent report in the journal Endocrine Practice, researchers examined data from 279 men and woman with type 2 diabetes. Overall, 36 percent had obstructive sleep apnea.

Men with diabetes were particularly vulnerable. Below age 45, they had more than a one-third increased chance of developing sleep apnea, and that risk doubled above age 65. For women below 45, the chances of having sleep apnea were slim: between 5 percent and 8 percent. Females 65 and older, however, had a one-third increased chance of having the sleep disorder, the study found.

Interestingly, being heavier or taking more medicines were not predictors of sleep apnea. The only correlations were age and gender.

"It suggests that once you're diabetic, there's such a powerful disposition to obstructive sleep apnea that the other contributing variables are simply less important," said Dr. Daniel Einhorn, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and a medical director at the Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes in La Jolla, Calif.

Diagnosing sleep apnea is critical, he noted, because treating the sleep disorder can make a huge difference in the patient's diabetes. "Successful treatment of sleep apnea has a greater impact to improve blood sugar than any single thing you can do in a diabetic," Einhorn said.

Previous research has also shown that people with mild to moderate sleep apnea were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to those without the sleep disorder. Those with severe sleep apnea were three times as likely to have high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Still, experts say further research into the diabetes-sleep apnea connection is necessary.

"We need to understand the mechanisms involved, so we can derive better therapeutic and prevention approaches," said Dr. Paul Zimmet, professor and director of the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. Before sleep, the person places a mask over his or her nose or nose and mouth. It is connected by tubing to a CPAP machine that uses air pressure to keep the airway open, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Typically, before insurers will pay for this therapy, the person's sleep disorder must be documented in a sleep lab study.

Einhorn is currently conducting a follow-up study to assess easier, less expensive and more readily available methods of diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea, such as the use of a portable at-home screening device.

"There's no way that you'll have large-scale screening if everyone has to go through an overnight study at a sleep lab," he said. "It's completely unaffordable."

More information

The International Diabetes Federation has more facts on sleep apnea and diabetes.



SOURCES: Jonathan Shaw, M.D., MRCP, FRACP, associate professor, International Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Paul Zimmet, A.O., M.B., M.D., Ph.D., FRACP, FRCP, professor and director, International Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Daniel Einhorn, M.D., FACP, FACE, clinical professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego, and medical director, Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes, La Jolla, Calif., and vice president, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, June 2008, International Diabetes Federation Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention, IDF Consensus Statement on Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes; American Sleep Apnea Association

Last Updated: Jan. 08, 2009

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