Study links sleep disorders with worse outcomes from COVID-19
Research into this topic is ongoing, and could have greater implications than what we know now.
TOLEDO, Ohio — A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic found that people with certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, had more severe outcomes from COVID-19, including a 31% higher chance of hospitalization — or even death.
“So this was a study that we undertook to better understand the relationship of sleep disordered breathing and lowering of oxygen during sleep as it relates to COVID-19,” said Dr. Reena Mehra of the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Mehra led the research team, which examined data from 5,400 patients at Cleveland Clinic. She says while those with sleep apnea, or who experienced lowered oxygen while sleeping, did have more severe outcomes from COVID-19. However, they were *not* at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
They also learned that it didn’t make a difference whether people were using a CPAP machine prior to getting sick, as they still had the same outcome either way. She says that could be due to inconsistent use of the CPAP machine or residual hypoxia, the absence of enough oxygen in the body’s tissue.
“We also don’t know if treating the sleep apnea — which theoretically should address the hypoxia, we don’t know the degree to which it was addressing the hypoxia. So if there was some residual hypoxia there or oxygen lowering, then that may be contributing to poorer COVID-19 outcomes,” she added.
The group does plan to continue its research, which will dive deeper into the connection between sleep disorders and COVID-19, as well as how the virus impacts sleep beyond recovery from an infection.