As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we are learning more about COVID-19 and what is involved. A lot is unknown, but we are slowly figuring out different aspects of this new disease. One thing we have learned is that if you suffer from sleep apnea, you may experience poorer outcomes from COVID-19. 

Let’s take a look at a study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews that uncovers the connection between sleep apnea and worse outcomes from COVID-19.

COVID-19 and sleep apnea

Here is a little background. Researchers combed through databases through June 2020. They were looking for papers that included data on COVID-19 and sleep disorders. The studies looked at comorbidities that are associated with poorer COVID-19 outcomes. 

Those conditions include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, those conditions led to higher instance rates among patients with sleep apnea. In fact, two studies found that more than 20% of patients in the ICU for COVID-19 also had sleep apnea. 

This may sound alarming, but it signals to us that seeking treatment for sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and hypertension can make a difference.

Seek treatment for sleep apnea

While the most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP therapy, there is another option that should be considered. However, it is important to point out that CPAP therapy is an aerosol-generating treatment. This can put individuals in the vicinity at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 if the person has tested positive.

Patients should stop using CPAP therapy during the pandemic because it is an aerosol-generating treatment. Instead, patients should seek oral appliance therapy. This treatment can help treat their sleep apnea while preventing the spread of aerosols. 

Obtain diagnosis and treatment now

What is also alarming is that there has been a decline in new sleep apnea diagnosis during the pandemic. This may have to due to the fear of seeking treatment or visiting the dentist. It is important to note, though, that dentists and other health professionals continue to take proper preventive measures to protect our patients. We follow all guidelines to ensure our offices are safe, clean and ready to meet your needs throughout the pandemic and beyond. 

Please contact Dr. Patel to learn more about sleep apnea and to find out what your options are.