The association between obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and microvascular complications in well-controlled diabetic patients

Mil Med. 2010 Nov;175(11):913-6. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-10-00131.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) may promote hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

Objective: We studied the link between sleep apnea and microvascular diabetic complications in veterans with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2).

Design: A retrospective electronic chart of all veterans referred for sleep studies over a 1-year period was reviewed. Ninety-eight patients with a glycosylated hemoglobin < 6.5% were included in the study. The degree of glycemia (HbA1c) and presence of macro- and microvascular complications were compared with OSAS variables.

Method: Statistical analysis examined bivariate associations between OSAS variables and metabolic syndrome parameters.

Results: The apnea hypopnea index was significantly related to diabetic microvascular complications, particularly retinopathy. Oxygen desaturation was significantly and inversely related to microalbuminuria, microvascular complications, retinopathy, and HbA1c.

Conclusions: Sleep apnea is associated with microvascular complications even in well-controlled DM-2 veterans.

Clinical implications: Screening for OSAS should be considered in patients with DM-2.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Albuminuria / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / prevention & control
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans