Background: Gender differences in the relationship of snoring and diabetes mellitus are mainly unknown. We aimed to analyze the relationship between snoring, witnessed sleep apnea and diabetes mellitus and to analyze possible gender related differences in an unselected population.
Methods: Questions on snoring and witnessed sleep apneas were included in the Northern Sweden component of the WHO, MONICA study. Invited were 10,756 men and women aged 25-79 years, randomly selected from the population register.
Results: There were 7905 (73%) subjects, 4047 women and 3858 men who responded to the questionnaire and attended a visit for a physical examination. Habitual snoring was related to diabetes mellitus in women, with an adjusted odds ratio (OR)=1.58 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-2.44, p=0.041) independent of smoking, age, body mass index and waist circumference. Witnessed sleep apnea was also independently related to diabetes mellitus in women, with an adjusted OR=3.29 (95% CI 1.20-8.32, p=0.012). Neither snoring, nor witnessed sleep apneas were associated with diabetes mellitus among men, except for witnessed sleep apnea in men aged 25-54 years old. They had an adjusted OR=3.84 (95% CI 1.36-10.9, p=0.011) for diabetes mellitus.
Conclusions: Snoring and witnessed sleep apneas are related to diabetes mellitus in women. Witnessed sleep apnea is related to diabetes mellitus in men younger than 55 years old.