As a dentist, you have likely seen all too many patients whose oral health has been adversely affected by diabetes. You may try to help them manage their condition with friendly advice and high-quality treatments, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could play a role in sparing them from type 2 diabetes in the first place? You may have the power to do just that if you choose to offer oral appliance therapy. This blog post explores the link between prediabetes and sleep apnea.
Poor Quality Sleep and Prediabetes
A recent study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom asked 40 prediabetic patients to take a detailed questionnaire about the quality of their sleep. Data about the participants’ A1c levels was also collected. Individuals who reported low-quality sleep tended to have a higher A1c than those who slept well. Patients with elevated A1c levels are at an elevated risk of their prediabetes progressing into full-blown type 2 diabetes.
The link between poor sleep quality and diabetes has been established for many years. However, this study was among the first to specifically examine the connection between prediabetes and how well patients sleep.
Of course, it must be acknowledged that poor sleep can be due to any number of reasons, ranging from allergies and aches and pains to stress and mental illness. Often, though, the main culprit behind low sleep quality is obstructive sleep apnea.
Helping Patients Achieve Better Sleep
In your practice, you are in a unique position to help patients improve the quality of their sleep, and perhaps, reverse their prediabetes. When you set up your business to offer sleep apnea therapy, you can:
- Recognize signs of sleep apnea in patients. Many people do not realize that they are suffering from OSA. By kindly pointing out risk factors and asking about symptoms, you may help them get a proper diagnosis.
- Educate patients about treatment options. Many people believe that CPAP therapy is the best way to address sleep apnea. However, countless patients find that an oral appliance is a more comfortable and convenient option.
- Offer lifestyle advice. Many small changes can reduce the severity of OSA. For example, you could tell patients about the benefits of losing a small amount of weight, sleeping on their side, or restricting their alcohol consumption.
Once patients start treatment and begin to enjoy better sleep, they are likely to increase their insulin sensitivity, lower their A1c, and perhaps turn their prediabetes around. In effect, you could play a large role in helping patients avoid an incurable and life-threatening disease!
Dr. Kent Smith is a leading expert in the field of sleep dentistry. He has helped countless patients to cope with their OSA and enjoy the resulting overall health benefits of high-quality sleep. He offers periodic training seminars to help his fellow dentists incorporate sleep medicine into their practices. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Smith and the training he provides, contact 21st Century Sleep Seminars at 817-318-6352.