Exercise More to Combat Sleep Disorders and Diabetes

Men who work out more improve their survival rate for several diseases

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Men with obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes or high blood pressure can greatly improve their survival rate by increasing their amount of exercise. Conversely, poor fitness habits increased the death rate by as much as 75 percent.

A five-year study was recently completed at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, analyzing more than 500 men. Dr. Skikha Khosla, an endocrinologist and study co-author, looked at the relationship between exercise and men with sleep apnea who also had Type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension (high blood pressure).

"Exercise regularly to combat sleep apnea, diabetes and high blood pressure."

The men, who had an average age of 62, had completed exercise fitness testing over a five-year period at the VA Medical Center. Afterwards, Dr. Khosla and her team used an exercise tolerance test to classify each man's exercise capabilities, rated each as low, moderate or high fitness.

The risk of death was 75 percent higher for men in the low-fit category than for men who were classified as high-fit. “The prevalence of sleep apnea is rising sharply, and it commonly occurs in people with diabetes and high blood pressure,” Dr. Khosla said. “Recent findings suggest that patients with sleep apnea have an increased risk of dying of any cause compared with individuals without sleep apnea.”

Dr. Khosla recommends 150 to 200 minutes a week of physical activity. Men should begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise, and those suffering from sleep apnea, diabetes or high blood pressure should always consult a physician before beginning an exercise regimen.

The study was presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting and Expo of The Endocrine Society.

Research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 29, 2011
Last Updated:
July 3, 2011