Do you snore heavily? High blood pressure? Do you suffer from Diabetes? These related conditions are affecting more and more people.

At the start of this year this year it was reported that poor diabetes care was leading to avoidable deaths, record rates of complications, and huge costs to the health services. It has become a worse problem in the last 6 months.

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10% of total healthcare money is spent on this illness and most of the money involved goes on managing the complications not preventing them. This is widely recognised to be a worldwide problem and not one to be found just in Britain. Both Australia and the USA are also grappling with similar major increases in the condition.

Diabetes is closely connected with weight gain and disturbed sleep results from this lifestyle problem. Excessive weight will narrow the throat as well as causing the muscles to weaken and this problem increases as we age so it needs to be prevented earlier. Snoring or sleep apnoea is one of the results.

We now know that people with sleep apnea are nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and snorers are 27% more likely to do so. Those with daytime sleepiness are also about 50% more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes.

There are currently estimated to be 3.5 million adults with type 2 diabetes in the UK, and this is an increase of 1.5 million adults compared with just 10 years ago when there were slightly over 2 million people with the condition. At this rate of growth it is predicted that there will be five million people with the disease in 2020, which is five years earlier than previously anticipated. The increased costs to individuals and Health services will be massive.

Despite wide press coverage, this problem is ignored and continues to grow. Prescriptions for type 2 diabetes have risen by a third in England in the last five years from 26 million to 35 million a year, according to NHS data. In addition, during the first six months of 2016, the number of prescriptions for type 2 diabetes was already up by more than 8% compared with the same period the year before.

Getting good sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to remain healthy during the aging process. However, although any serious sleep disturbances such as snoring have been recognised to cause problems for nearly all aspects of health, it is often ignored when treating diabetes.

If you snore or have symptoms of sleep apnoea it’s important to take preventative measures now because if ignored, it may prove to be too late.

A recent study of 6,000 US adults has shown that disturbed sleep contributes to overeating and weight gain, raising blood pressure, which causes diabetes, and also that oxygen deprivation can also cause the onset of raised blood pressure and Diabetes. According to the research anyone with night-time breathing issues like snoring or sleep apnea often has high blood sugar and is almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Martin McShane, from NHS England, said recently: “These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s time to get serious about lifestyle change.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by over 1 million. With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste and the government must act now”.

Improving sleep, stopping snoring, controlling sleep apnoea and eating more healthily combined with losing weight are all key factors in the process. As a result, NHS England has said that up to 20,000 patients will receive weight loss interventions by the end of this financial year as a result of GP referrals onto the Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Many sufferers have identified that they snore and taken the highly sensible first step of equipping themselves with an oral appliance to prevent the problem, as recommended by the NHS, who approve certain tested oral appliances such as SleepPro, and either issue them direct or by referral to more severely affected patients.

All SleepPro stop snoring appliances are available online without the need for a prescription. They are high quality yet inexpensive items and they are medically approved worldwide.

John Redfern