Research conducted by the University of Birmingham has led to an interesting discovery. It was found out from this study that patients who are affected with the condition of Type 2 diabetes coupled with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) stand an increased probability of dilapidating into blindness within the span of two to four years.
Delving into the medical details of OSA, it is a situation where there is an occurrence of the relaxation of the throat in course of sleep by patients. This relaxation now translates into snoring and breaks in breath. This is seen readily in Type 2 diabetes patients. Studies conducted before this revolutionary research uncovered a strong relationship between diabetic retinopathy and OSA. Diabetic retinopathy here happens to be the most common variant of eye diseases stemming from diabetes. In fact, according to statistics, diabetic retinopathy afflicts over 40% of people suffering diabetes today globally. Diabetic retinopathy has been a leading culprit of blindness in Europe. However before now, little has been fathomed pertaining to the depth to which OSA can provoke diabetic retinopathy in people having Type 2 diabetes.
According to the author of the research, Doctor Abd Tahrani, hailing from the reputable University of Birmingham’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research: “Despite improvements in glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, diabetic retinopathy remains very common.
“Meanwhile, OSA has been shown to be very common in patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is not surprising considering that excess weight contributes to the development of both of these conditions.”
Abd Tahrani explained that there is relative ignorance in people who have the obstructive sleep apnea. A good number of these patients are not even aware of the existence of the condition that they may have. Thus, the disease could keep residing and growing in them and remain unnoticed.
Speaking further Abd emphasized “Our study is the first to prospectively examine the impact of OSA on diabetic retinopathy. Firstly, we showed that sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy was more common in patients with both Type 2 diabetes and OSA compared to those with Type 2 diabetes but without OSA. However, more importantly, we have shown that patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes, compared to those with diabetes only, are at increased risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy over a period of three years and seven months.”
The study was an investment of voluminous effort. The research was carried out on 230 patients with Type 2 diabetes across two diabetes clinics at hospitals in the Midlands. This research, however, didn’t involve those who were already self-aware of their condition as OSA patients. There was an examination of the patients via a peculiar retinal imaging for diabetic retinopathy. On the other hand, those likely to be affected by OSA were tested with a multi-channel cardio-respiratory portable device.
The results were a big deviation from the known and equally groundbreaking. It was found out that there was more of diabetic retinopathy in people with OSA when compared to those who don’t have OSA. The percentage was 42.9% for those having OSA and 24.1% for those who don’t have it.
Dr. Tahrani added: “We can conclude from this study that OSA is an independent predictor of the progression to moderate or severe diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
“Our findings are important because improved understanding of the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy is important in order to identify new treatments.
It, therefore, becomes crucial that those who already have Type 2 diabetes and OSA safely key into the reality that they are vulnerable to blindness in the long term and promptly put in proper efforts to forestall such possibility.