Sleep Apnea Linked to Glucose, Insulin Metabolism in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

By David Douglas
Reuters Health Information

In women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obstructive sleep apnea is associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes, according to a study from the University of Chicago.

“Our findings,” investigator Dr. David A. Ehrmann told Reuters Health, “suggest that the metabolic disturbances seen commonly among women with PCOS are due, at least in part, to the effects of sleep disordered breathing.”

“In the absence of obstructive sleep apnea,” he added, “metabolic disturbances in PCOS are modest and are not significantly different from those seen among obese women without PCOS.”

In the October issue of the Journal of Clinical and Endocrinological Metabolism, Dr. Ehrmann and colleagues describe their prospective study of 52 women with PCOS and 21 comparable women without the disorder.

With polysomnography, the team diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea in 29 women with PCOS (56%) and 4 controls (19%). After adjustment for risk factors, the PCOS patients with sleep apnea were more insulin resistant than those without apnea. Further, impaired glucose tolerance was observed in 16 of the 29 women (55%) with PCOS and sleep apnea versus only 6 of the 23 (26%) PCOS patients without sleep apnea.

“Insulin resistance and glucose tolerance were highly correlated with the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea,” the authors report.

They also found that in PCOS patients with normal glucose tolerance, sleep apnea was associated with an almost twofold higher fasting insulin level and homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index.

Moreover, the severity of sleep apnea was a highly significant predictor of the fasting concentrations of glucose and insulin as well as 2-hour glucose concentration and HOMA index.

Dr. Ehrmann’s team is now “actively engaged in clinical studies designed to determine the direction of causality between obstructive sleep apnea and the metabolic disturbances characteristic of PCOS.”

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008;93:3878-3884.

Next Steps

Becoming victorious over the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not easy, but you can overcome your PCOS symptoms to live the life you deserve.

It takes strength, courage, and perseverance. It can be challenging and that’s why Insulite Health created this website. It's has information and resources that will help you balance your hormones and reverse PCOS symptoms.

So take these next steps now! Use the links below to learn how to make the changes that will transform your health and your life forever.

  1. Read more about PCOS. Search our 1300 page PCOS library.
  2. Join our Facebook Group right now!  Pose your questions to this group of like-minded women and get the support you need.
  3. Take the PCOS Quiz! Get your PCOS score and assess your risk.  
  4. Learn more about the Insulite 5-Element PCOS Solution

Insulite Health, is committed to helping women reverse their symptoms of hormone imbalance. Scientific research has revealed that this imbalance can be a primary cause of many devastating health symptoms. Hormone Imbalance can also underlie the increased risk factors for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) - a major source of serious diseases as well as cause of excess weight gain, adult acne, unwanted facial hair, depression, anxiety, and heartbreaking female infertility.

©Insulite Health, Inc., empowers women with PCOS to transform their lives through a process of healing with the 5-Element PCOS System – a complete solution for helping women reverse the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance.