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The risk of long Covid is higher in people with obstructive sleep apnoea, a common disorder characterized by nocturnal breathing cessation due to upper airway collapse. Women with sleep apnoea have an 89% increased likelihood of having long Covid compared to men’s 59%. The study accounted for risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and hospitalization during Covid infection. However, the severity of obstructive sleep apnea was not controlled for, and women may have had more severe conditions than men due to underdiagnosis. Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with long Covid and seek medical attention. The study was published in the journal ‘Sleep.’
As seen on a recent study conducted by a research team in the US, people with obstructive sleep apnoea may be at significantly higher risk of suffering from long Covid. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common disorder characterised by repetitive episodes of nocturnal breathing cessation due to upper airway collapse. However, the condition is often underdiagnosed.
The study, published online in the journal ‘Sleep’, found that observed increases in risk for long Covid in adults with sleep apnoea remained significant even when the research team accounted for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and hospitalisation at the time of their initial Covid infection, all known to independently contribute to risk for long Covid.
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Women showed an 89 per cent increased likelihood of having long Covid if they had obstructive sleep apnea, compared to a 59 per cent increased chance for men. While the underlying associations aren’t clear, women with sleep apnea included in the study may have had more severe conditions than men.
The severity of obstructive sleep apnea was not controlled for, but sleep apnea is more likely to be undiagnosed in women — which could create a sample with women who have more severe cases. Other studies have also found that women may be more likely to be diagnosed with long Covid and seek treatment.
The research team analysed data from the electronic health records of 2,888 patients who tested positive for Covid-19 from March 2020 to November 2020. The patients were assessed for long Covid if they had at least one symptom 30 days or more after their initial Covid-19 diagnosis.
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The team found that while the In light of this information risk of long Covid in adults with sleep apnoea was 60 per cent higher than those without the condition, the risk was higher in women than men. The study also discovered that the risk of long Covid in patients with sleep apnoea increased with age.
The findings of this study suggest that people with sleep apnoea should be considered as a high-risk group for long Covid. This is particularly important given that sleep apnoea is a common condition that is often undiagnosed. The research team emphasised the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea to reduce the risk of long Covid.
To summarize it all, the study highlights the need for increased awareness and screening for sleep apnoea in Covid-19 patients, particularly in women and older adults. Early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea may help to reduce the risk of long Covid and improve outcomes for patients. It is important for healthcare providers to recognise the potential link between sleep apnoea and long Covid and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk.