MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: We found a strong association between obstructive sleep apnea and gestational diabetes mellitus. In pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the risk of obstructive sleep apnea is increased nearly 7-fold compared to those without gestational diabetes. In addition, we found that in non-diabetic women, pregnancy is associated with more disrupted sleep.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: Obstructive sleep apnea is a known risk factor for abnormal glucose metabolism, so the findings were somewhat expected. However, we did not expect such a strong association between the two conditions, and that nearly 75% of the women with gestational diabetes had obstructive sleep apnea. This rate is similar to the non-pregnant diabetic population. Keep in mind that most women in our study were overweight or obese.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes should be considered for evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea, especially if other risk factors, such as hypertension and obesity, and symptoms, such as frequent snoring, are present. In addition, women already diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea should be monitored and screened for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: Because our data are preliminary, the result should be confirmed in a larger study. The issue of whether treating obstructive sleep apnea during pregnancy will affect glucose metabolism remains unanswered.
Sirimon Reutrakul, Nausheen Zaidi, Kristen Wroblewski, Helen H. Kay, Mahmoud Ismail, David A. Ehrmann, and Eve Van Cauter
Interactions Between Pregnancy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus JCEM jc.2013-2348; doi:10.1210/jc.2013-2348