(HealthDay News) – There is a strong association between gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a study published online Aug. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Sirimon Reutrakul, MD, from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues used polysomnography in three age- and race-matched groups of women: 15 non-pregnant women without diabetes (NP-NGT), 15 pregnant women with normal glucose tolerance (P-NGT), and 15 pregnant women with GDM (P-GDM). Pregnant women were evaluated during the late second to early third trimester.

The researchers found that P-NGT women had a higher apnea hypopnea index (AHI; median, 2 vs. 0.5; P=0.03), more disrupted sleep as reflected by a higher wake time after sleep onset (median, 66 vs. 21 minutes; P<0.01), and a higher microarousal index (median, 16.4 vs. 10.6; P=0.01), compared with NP-NGT women. P-GDM women had significantly lower total sleep time (median, 397 vs. 464 minutes; P=0.02) and a higher AHI (median, 8.2 vs. 2; P=0.05) compared to P-NGT women. For P-GDM women, OSA was significantly more prevalent than in P-NGT women (73% vs. 27%; P=0.01). A diagnosis of GDM was associated with a diagnosis of OSA, even after adjusting for pre-pregnancy body mass index (odds ratio, 6.6).

“Sleep is more disturbed in GDM than in P-NGT women,” the authors conclude.

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