Sleep apnoea slipping under radar in diabetes

A retrospective population-based study examining the health records of more than 16,000 US primary care patients with diabetes showed that only 18% were diagnosed with OSA, far fewer than the proportion expected from the published literature.

The prevalence of OSA among patients with diabetes who were obese was only 23% in the study compared to an expected 87%, the authors said, noting that the association of OSA with diabetes was independent of obesity.

They found primary care doctors were more likely to diagnose OSA in obese males with comorbidities, missing diagnoses in less “stereotypical” presentations.

Don Chisholm, professor of endocrinology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, agreed OSA was likely under-diagnosed in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The study had strong clinical relevance although the degree of obesity observed in the US patients was higher than that seen in the Australian community, he said.