Why Do Heart Bypass Patients Have Insulin Resistance?

Here’s a study that I came across that you’d probably read and say, “that’s interesting,” and go on to reading another abstract. In my mind, I’m jumping up and down, waving my arms, screaming, “look for sleep apnea!”

Researchers showed that heart bypass patients had insulin and glucose profiles that were similar to diabetics. Not too surprising if you have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. We know that untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause or aggravate heart disease, insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, just to name a few. If cardiologists screened all their patients for sleep apnea, I don’t know if our health care system can handle the huge increase in people needing sleep studies. Perhaps expanding the role of home-based studies including titration should be considered for a certain subset of this population.

Given what we know about sleep apnea, do you think everyone with heart disease should be screened for sleep apnea? Please enter your comments in the text area below.

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2 thoughts on “Why Do Heart Bypass Patients Have Insulin Resistance?

  1. I’d be interested in knowing which comes first- insulin resistance or sleep apnea? There is a 2009 study that shows a connection between increasing levels of nitrosamine ingestion and insulin resistant diseases. Either way, more widespread evaluation for sleep apnea is needed.

  2. I think any time a person has a routine physical they should be screened (interview and questionnaire) for sleep apnea. It is as important as blood lipid testing and blood pressure measurement. Society’s costs for treating sleep apnea will go up but heart disease will go down and there is a net cost savings and a productivity improvement.