CPAP therapy for patients with sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes mellitus improves control of blood pressure

Sleep Breath. 2017 May;21(2):377-386. doi: 10.1007/s11325-016-1428-7. Epub 2016 Nov 5.


Purpose: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is highly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), and treatment of OSA may have a positive impact on cardiometabolic profile. This study investigates the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on glycemic control and cardiometabolic parameters in patients with diabetes.

Methods: Diabetic patients, who were newly diagnosed of OSA with an apnea hypopnea index (AHI) ≥15 and HbA1c ≥7%, were randomly assigned to either CPAP treatment or no treatment (control) for 3 months. Measurements included HbA1c, blood pressure, fasting glucose and lipids, urinary albumin, and peripheral arterial tonometry (to assess endothelial function).

Results: Sixty-four patients (52 men) were randomized, with mean (±SD) age of 55.0 ± 9.6 years, body mass index of 29.9 ± 5.3 kg/m2, HbA1c of 8.1 ± 1.1%, and AHI of 45.3 ± 23.2 events/h. In the intention-to-treat analysis, no significant change in HbA1c but reduction of systolic (10 mmHg (-18 to -2), p < 0.05) and diastolic (6 mmHg (-11 to -1), p < 0.05) blood pressures were found in the CPAP group compared to the control group. Excluding those with medication changes or initiated dietary program during the study period and those who dropped out, CPAP treatment decreased HbA1c (intervention group, n = 27; control group, n = 26) by 0.4% (-0.7 to -0.1), p = 0.027.

Conclusions: In patients with type 2 DM and moderate to severe OSA, 3 months of CPAP therapy did not decrease HbA1c but lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressures. In view of a potentially limited effect size of CPAP treatment on glycemic control, sample size estimation for future randomized controlled studies must make adequate allowance for influence from external factors of medications/diet and CPAP use.

Keywords: Blood pressure; CPAP therapy; HbA1c; Obstructive sleep apnea; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / blood
  • Albuminuria / therapy
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fructosamine / blood
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / blood
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipids
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Fructosamine