Today is World Sleep Day, and in recognition of this day our post will review recent research regarding insomnia as a risk factor for diabetes mellitus type 2.
The statistics for diabetes are a cause for alarm. According to the American DIabetes Association, over 9% of the U.S. population has diabetes, with 1.5 million new cases diagnosed yearly. Over 84 million Americans are classified as pre-diabetic, and are at high risk for progressing into diabetes. The total cost for diabetes for 2017 was estimated at $327 billion.
A research group in the Portland, Oregon area conducted a retrospective cohort study. The participants numbered over 81,000 and all had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and with and without insomnia. On average the subjects were followed over 4 years. The mean age was 57 1/2 years.
What the researchers discovered was that the subjects who had insomnia had nearly a 30% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to the group that did not have insomnia, even after adjusting for risk factors such as age, body mass index, and cardiovascular issues.
The mechanism by which insomnia increases the risk of diabetes type 2 is not entirely clear, but may involve activation of the sympathetic nervous system (and hence increased stress hormones), increased inflammation in the body, increased appetite, decreased exercise due to fatigue, or perhaps some other factor. It may well involve multiple factors and not just one.
This study is robust- a large number of subjects were enrolled in a real world clinical setting. It examines a modifiable risk factor for diabetes. Those who have ongoing issues with insomnia may well want to consider the possible implications of developing diabetes from their lack of sleep.
“The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Source- BMJ Open Diabetes Research&Care, 2018)
This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.