"My sleep study showed I would stop breathing anywhere from 57 to 72 times an hour," said Fontana.
Sometimes, he would stop breathing for as long as 30 seconds. Tom suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.
"If you stop breathing that many times during the night over a long period of time, who knows what kind of damage it will do," said Fontana.
Depriving your body of oxygen can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and now researchers at Ohio State University have linked sleep apnea to Type 2 diabetes.
"Sleep apnea worsens glucose control and worsens the body's responsiveness to insulin," said sleep expert, Dr. Rami Khayat.
Oxygen levels fluctuate throughout the night, causing fat cells to become resistant to insulin, which may cause glucose levels to rise. this can lead to diabetes and other cardiovascular problems.
"Every time their oxygen level drops, their blood pressure goes up. The adrenaline surges in the body. The heart starts working hard against the elevated blood pressure," said Dr. Khayat.
Lou Flocken knows the health risks associated with his sleep problems.
"I would have thought I was sleeping pretty good, except I knew that I snored," said Flocken.
Lou has high blood pressure. Using a CPAP along with medication, his blood pressure has dropped from 150/100 to 120/80.
"Getting a quality night's sleep is one of the things I've been focusing on to make sure I stay healthy into the future," said Flocken.
Another study at UCLA found adults who suffer from sleep apnea are three-times more likely to have diabetes.
The most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring and daytime sleepiness. also, if you wake up several times during the night, you might want to be tested for sleep apnea.
Web Extra Information: Sleep and Diabetes
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, the Greek word "apnea" literally means "without breath." People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, which usually occurs when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Sleep apnea affects about 12 million Americans. Untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches. Risk factors include being male, overweight and over age 40, but sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol. Oral appliances and surgery may also be options. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine pushes air through the airway at a pressure high enough to keep the airway open during sleep.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a disease that causes the body to not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy needed for daily life. There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States with diabetes. An estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed, but about 5.7 million are unaware that they have the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. With this type of disease, the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin. Having type 2 diabetes increases a person's risk for serious complications including heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage. Keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible helps reduce the risk of long-term complications.
A LINK BETWEEN THE TWO?
Researchers at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, have linked sleep apnea to diabetes. They are investigating blood glucose levels and the role of fat cells in patients with sleep apnea. During the night, oxygen levels fluctuate, causing fat cells to become resistant to insulin.
Researchers think this may cause glucose levels to rise, which may cause diabetes and other cardiovascular problems. "Sleep apnea worsens glucose control and worsens the body's responsiveness to insulin," Rami Khayat, M.D., a sleep expert at the Ohio State University told Ivanhoe.
A separate study at UCLA showed that adults who suffer from sleep apnea are three-times more likely to have diabetes. Researchers say they will conduct further studies to provide more insight into the link between these two common problems.
MORE L.A. BREAKING NEWS, WEATHER, TRAFFIC, SPORTS
SEND TIP || REPORT TYPO || TWEET @abc7 || WIDGET