According to a study published in the JAMA Network, adults with sleep apnea appear to have a higher risk of contracting severe Covid-19 or death from the virus. According to the results obtained, those with the common sleep disorder are 31% more likely to die from Covid-19.
However, the sleep disorder does not increase a person’s risk of Covid-19 infection, the researchers stated. “If there are worrying symptoms of sleep apnea, people should consult their GPs to avoid any risk,” study co-author Reena Mehra told US media. Also the director of sleep disorders research at the Clinic Cleveland Health System noted that the link between sleep apnea and severe Covid-19 is due to decreased oxygen while asleep. “When people suffer from sleep apnea and have Covid-19, during sleep it could result in worse results, “he stressed.
To obtain results, the group of scientists from the Cleveland Clinic studied cases and controls of 5,400 patients with sleep-disordered breathing and sleep-related hypoxia. The researchers ruled out various confounding factors, for example, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, types of cancer, exposure to smoking, etc. Mehra and her team revealed that of the total of the people analyzed, 47% tested negative for Covid-19 despite suffering from a sleep disorder. Meanwhile, 31% of the participants whose results were positive for Covid-19 and sleep apnea were hospitalized and required oxygen.
According to the data obtained, hypoxia related to sleep (lack of oxygen in the tissues to maintain proper body function) was the most serious cause in Covid-19 patients. This is due to the fact that the human body reduces the supply of oxygen, therefore, the risks of severe Covid-19 trigger in hospitalizations after an infection. Another reason why sleep disorders increase the chances of getting severe Covid-19 is due to the interruption in the flow of oxygen. This causes inflammation in the vital organs of the body, including the lungs and heart, triggering multiple serious symptoms.
Despite the data obtained from the Cleveland Health System Clinic, there are still unknowns to solve for the work team. These first findings found a close relationship between Covid-19 and sleep disorders, but they stated that they need more research to confirm the data obtained.