Covid-19: be careful if you suffer from sleep apnea

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People with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing severe forms of the coronavirus.

Snoring, a sensation of suffocation, and nocturnal awakenings are some of the manifestations of what is called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Sleep apnea most often affects people who already have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity.

It is a vicious cycle that sets in if one is not treated (by using a continuous positive airway pressure device at night, which opens the airway). Because a sleep that does not recover weakens the body: repeated micro-awakenings increase blood pressure and, therefore, cardiovascular risk.

As expected, caution is required during this coronavirus period for patients with the disease. A new study shows that people with obstructive sleep apnea have up to three times the risk of complications and death if they contract SARS-Cov-2.

Scientists at the University of Warwick conducted a meta-analysis (a synthesis of eighteen studies on the topic) to reach this conclusion. Lead author Dr. Miller explains, "Covid-19 is likely to worsen oxidative stress and inflammation and have effects on bradykinin, a hormone associated with blood pressure."

However, many patients ignore it: they (and sometimes even their spouse) are unaware of these involuntary interruptions in breathing while they sleep. Loud snoring, restless sleep, sweating and the urge to urinate at night, or phases of drowsiness or overexcitement during the day should lead you to consult your doctor.

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