Women who have gestational diabetes are more likely to experience childbirth complications. In this recent study, they also found out that women diagnosed with this type of diabetes are around seven times more likely to experience obstructive sleep apnea than those women negative from gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes, also popularly known as pregnancy diabetes, causes an abnormal increase in a woman’s blood sugar level. This happens when a pregnant women’s hormones makes cells less responsive to insulin. For most moms, this is not really a problem since the pancreas can just produce additional insulin. But if the pancreas can’t handle the insulin demand, the blood sugar level rises.
This type of diabetes affects pregnant women usually during the second trimester. As much as 8 out of 100 women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This figure does not include undiagnosed patients who are likely to know their condition only when the baby is due. Hence, gestational diabetes is one of the most common health problems that can occur to pregnant women.
The study which has been published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), found a link between gestational diabetes and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is form of sleeping disorder that causes pauses in a person’s breathing or infrequent breathing while at sleep. The pause in the rhythmic breathing pattern, dubbed as apnea, can actually last from anywhere between 10 seconds to a whole minute. This can repeatedly ensue for 5 to 30 times in an hour. Most people with sleep apnea are not aware of their problem.
Sleep apnea, if remain untreated, can cause problems for the long term. Sleep apnea patients are at a much larger risk of stroke, heart attack and related cardiovascular problems. According to Sirimon Reutrakul, MD, from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, it is not unheard of for pregnant women to experience sleep apnea. The risk, however, increases by seven times for those with gestational diabetes. In their study, approximately 75% of their respondents who all have gestational diabetes suffered from sleep apnea.
In the case study participated by 45 women, the research team observed the patients for sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders. The 45 women were composed of 15 pregnant women who had gestational diabetes, 15 pregnant women without the diabetes, and 15 women who were neither pregnant or with gestational diabetes.
They found out that there is a strong correlation between the occurrence of sleep apnea and gestational diabetes in most overweight women. They noted that pregnant women without gestational diabetes earned an additional hour of sleep and had less breaks from their sleep.
Based on these things, Dr. Reutrakul recommends that women with gestational diabetes also undergo testing for sleep apnea. More so, if the pregnant woman also has weight issues and past history of hypertension. Sleep apnea, as mentioned before, can be treated in various ways but has to be diagnosed first. Dr. Reutrakul suggests that women with gestational diabetes consult their doctor right away to eliminate the complications brought by sleep apnea.
Do you have gestational diabetes? or know a loved one who do? Check out our highly specialized gestational diabetes app that can help monitor your food intake and blood sugar level.