2014 Issues   /   February 2014

Military Sleep Disorders Raise Diabetes Risk

USM By U.S. Medicine
February 5, 2014

SEATTLE — Insomnia and other sleep disorders plaguing military servicemembers and veterans could be an independent risk factor for developing diabetes, not just a symptom of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study.

The study, led by researchers from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, was published online recently in the journal Diabetes Care.1

Past research has indicated a higher risk of type 2 diabetes associated with sleep characteristics, but study authors pointed out that studies “have not thoroughly assessed the potential confounding effects of mental health conditions associated with alterations in sleep.”

To remedy that, investigators assessed the association between sleep characteristics and self-reported incident diabetes among 47,093 Millennium Cohort Study participants (mean 34.9 years of age; mean BMI 26.0 kg/m2; 25.6% female) who were prospectively followed over a six-year period. The surveys are administered every three years and compile self-reported data on demographics, height, weight, lifestyle, features of military service, sleep, clinician-diagnosed diabetes and mental health conditions assessed by the PRIME-MD Patient Health Questionnaire and the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version.

During six years of follow-up, 871 incident diabetes cases occurred (annual incidence 3.6/1,000 person-years). In univariate analyses, according to the authors, incident diabetes was significantly more likely among participants with self-reported trouble sleeping, sleep duration of less than six hours and sleep apnea.

Results also indicated that participants reporting incident diabetes were also significantly older, more likely to be of non-white race, having higher body mass index (BMI), less likely to have been deployed and more likely to have reported baseline symptoms of panic, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

After adjusting for covariates, trouble sleeping (odds ratio 1.21 [95% CI 1.03–1.42]) and sleep apnea (1.78 [1.39–2.28]) were significantly and independently related to incident diabetes, according to the report.

1. Boyko EJ, Seelig AD, Jacobson IG, Hooper TI, Smith B, Smith TC, Crum-Cianflone NF; Millennium Cohort Study Team. Sleep characteristics, mental health, and diabetes risk: a prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium Cohort Study. Diabetes Care. 2013 Oct;36(10):3154-61. doi: 10.2337/DC13-0042. Epub 2013 Jul 8. PubMed PMID: 23835691; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3781550.


Related Articles

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of defense dod

Department of Defense (DoD)

High Rate of Pectoralis Tears Among Deployed Servicemembers Lifting Weights

Lifting weights is one way servicemembers keep in peak physical condition during deployment.

Department of Defense (DoD)

DoD Study Finds That Type 2 Diabetes Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

Having Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) increases mortality risk in breast cancer patients, regardless of whether diabetes was diagnosed before or after breast cancer, according to a recent study.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Now Hear This: Otolaryngologist Leads Effort to Prevent Auditory Issues

Among those who are exposed to combat, it’s the weapons fire that does it. In the Navy, it’s the noise levels in engine rooms and on the decks of carriers.

Department of Defense (DoD)

GAO: ‘Gaps’ in MHS Physician Specialties Could Affect Wartime Readiness

WASHINGTON — The military services need to develop “targeted and coordinated strategies” to alleviate military physician gaps, a recent report recommended.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Vows to Meet Deadline for Revamp of Veteran Claims Appeal Process

WASHINGTON—VA has told legislators that the agency is on track with a new law that will give veterans more options to have their claims appeals reviewed.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up