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OSA and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

September 5, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — bettersleep @ 4:08 pm
Senior man in mask thinking about COVID and sleep apnea

We were all hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic would be a memory by now, but with new variants spreading like wildfire, it remains a significant public health threat. Certain groups are at a higher risk of suffering from severe COVID, including those who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This blog post delves into the link between COVID and sleep apnea, and it discusses how sleep apnea treatment in Eugene may be able to help.

OSA May Make COVID Worse

A study published in January of this year identified sleep apnea as an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19. The term “independent risk factor” means that sleep apnea can worsen COVID-19 even when you take into account other risk factors that often exist alongside it. The same study found that COVID-19 hospitalizations are more common among people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Even more concerning is the fact that the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients with chronic health conditions tends to be much higher than in the general population. Individuals with such conditions, including respiratory problems like sleep apnea, have a mortality rate of 6 – 10.5%, whereas otherwise healthy people have a mortality rate below 1%.

Why Does OSA Make COVID Worse?

There are a few possible reasons why OSA tends to heighten the risk for severe COVID-19:

  • OSA is a respiratory condition. COVID-19 adversely affects the ability to breathe, and so does obstructive sleep apnea. Together, they can be a dangerous combination.
  • OSA wreaks havoc on overall health. Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to higher incidences of many systemic health conditions, including overweight, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. COVID-19 is especially dangerous in bodies that have already been weakened by such problems.
  • OSA often occurs among older individuals. Seniors are more susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea, and they may be vulnerable to age-related weakening of the immune system.

What You Can Do

Hopefully, you will never contract COVID-19. If you do, however, your chances of a favorable outcome are better if you have been making efforts to care for your overall health. That is why sleep apnea treatment is so important. A simple oral appliance, which repositions the jaw in order to facilitate easier breathing at night, might be all you need to get your OSA under control.

If you choose a CPAP machine for your sleep apnea treatment instead of an oral appliance, be aware that properly maintaining your device is crucial. Failing to clean it as recommended can allow harmful bacteria and contagions to accumulate in it, thereby increasing your risk of illness.

COVID and sleep apnea are a dangerous combination! OSA treatment could provide you with an extra layer of protection during the pandemic.

Meet the Doctor

Dr. Ivan Paskalev is a dentist with more than two decades of experience. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and other prestigious organizations. Oral appliance therapy is the main focus of his practice. If you would like to learn more about OSA and your treatment options, contact us at 541-246-8284 to ask questions or request a consultation.

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