Sleep Apnea May Increase the Risk of Severe COVID-19

Researchers recently conducted an analysis to establish the connection between sleep apnea and coronavirus at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Finland. The research suggested that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be among the risk factors for the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).

Reducing sleep apnea and coronavirus effects

The team found that an uneven number of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 had pre-existing OSA conditions beforehand. Furthermore, the researchers also identified higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), and possibly reduced oxygen saturation as potentially useful measures for predicting which patients may need critical care.

Initial Risk Factors to Be Identified

During the first phase of the outbreak, old age, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension were among the initial factors to be identified to worsen the risk of severe coronavirus. Obesity had also been pinpointed as a factor predisposing to disease that would require critical treatment.

Researchers have proposed several boy mechanisms underlying the association between these health conditions and severe COVID-19. These include hypoxemia, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation. The impact of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) on levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) was also recognized cause vulnerability. ACE2 is the receptor that acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) utilizes to gain entry to host cells. Nevertheless, the involvement of these mechanisms has not yet been resolved.

What Did the Recent Study Involve?

The researchers have analyzed baseline characteristics, as derived from hospital record data, among all 28 patients with the coronavirus that had been admitted to Turku University Hospital by May 3rd.

Common clinical features among these patients were fever, elevated PCT, hypoxemia, raised CRP, and lymphotycemia. Notably, common pre-existing health conditions were chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (7%), active malignant disease (11%), asthma (14%), diabetes (25%), OSA (29%), obesity (35%), and hypertension (43%).

The High Prevalence of OSA

Health conditions and severe COVID-19

The researchers highlighted that in Finland Hospitals, more than 12,700 people use continuous positive airway pressure therapy for OSA in reducing sleep apnea and coronavirus effects. Moreover, around 2,000 people use a mandibular advancement device. Given the disproportionately extraordinary prevalence of pre-existing OSA (29%) among the patients, the researchers further analyzed their clinical characteristics.

Even though obesity is by now an established prevalent risk factor for severe COVID-19 cases, weight alone does not justify the high proportion of patients with OSA. Obesity is a more common pre-existing condition than OSA, with a prevalence of 26.1% among men and 27.5% among women. The researchers that it has significantly contributed to the rise of coronavirus infection.

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