To determine the association between sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and obesity, diabetes and glucose intolerance among middle-aged men and women in Finland.
A multicentre, population-based, cross-sectional survey in Finland. A total of 1396 men and 1500 women aged 45-74 years participated in the survey between 2004 and 2005. The study subjects underwent a health examination including an oral glucose tolerance test and filled a questionnaire describing their sleep habits.
Middle-aged men with SDB had an increased prevalence of diabetes and abnormal glucose tolerance. These associations were not found among middle-aged women. After adjustments for age, body mass index, smoking and central nervous system-affecting medication, SDB was independently associated with diabetes and glucose intolerance in men, but not in women.
Middle-aged men with SDB have an independent risk of type 2 diabetes. However, both diabetes and SDB exhibit a strong association with obesity and especially with central obesity, reflecting increased visceral fat. In clinical practice especially male patients with diabetes should always be asked about habitual snoring and about possible sleep apnoea.