If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you could have an increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. While more needs to be known about this connection, it is important to take all precautions necessary to ensure that you are protected against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Why this happens

We are not quite sure why your risk increases, but there are a number of possible pathways in which COVID-19 can adversely impact patients with sleep apnea. What we have found is that sleep apnea shares risk factors and comorbidities that are associated with severe COVID-19 outcomes. Those conditions include:

  • Obesity.
  • Hypertension. 
  • Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. 

There are also other possible mechanisms for sleep apnea that may increase morbidity and mortality such as low levels of vitamin D. But research has also found that melatonin may benefit patients with COVID-19 because it may reduce oxidative stress, inflammation and the immune response in people with sleep apnea. It might even improve sleep quality, which, in turn, improves COVID-19 outcomes. 

Either way you look at it, beyond preventive measures such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, keeping your distance and getting vaccinated, it is important to seek treatment for your sleep apnea. 

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia to learn more about sleep apnea and your options for treatment.