As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we learn more and more about the impact of the novel coronavirus on our health and well-being. In a recent study in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research, researchers found that obstructive sleep apnea was identified as an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19. This means people were more prone to being hospitalized. Here is what we know.

Sleep apnea as a risk factor

It is important to emphasize the importance of reaching our patients with sleep apnea or being mindful of identifying sleep apnea in our patients when we can. This is because, when examining at-risk populations amid the pandemic, obstructive sleep apnea has been identified as a prominent factor that contributes to hospitalization from COVID-19. 

Researchers found that the c-reactive protein and procalcitonin were significantly higher in patients who were transferred to critical care units compared to those who did not have to be transferred. To make matters worse, sleep apnea is also associated with many known risk factors that are linked with severe COVID-19. These include higher body mass index, diabetes, older age and being male. 

It is imperative that we continue to provide our patients with the care they need and deserve.This means identifying sleep apnea and providing treatment to prevent further complications.