As research starts to pour in about new findings of COVID-19, we start to see a clearer picture of how it is exactly transmitted and who is the most susceptible to the virus.
One such group as found by one study shows that people with sleep apnea are affected more greatly than those without sleep apnea.
The study, which was done in Finland, finds that people with sleep apnea were disproportionately admitted to the hospital.
Please read below to learn more about the study and the participants.
Turku University Hospital and the University of Turku studied patients during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and found that sleep apnea emerged as a suspected risk factor.
The study, published in Sleep Medicine and Disorders International Journal, focused on the register information of COVID-19 patients who were admitted to Turku University Hospital in spring 2020. Southwest Finland, with a population of 480,000, managed the first wave of the pandemic with a relatively small number of infected people. Patients with a positive test result amounted to 278 individuals. From the infected patients, 28 were admitted to hospital care at Turku University Hospital by May 3, 2020. The register information of these patients was studied with the aim to unravel the risks for the severe form of COVID-19 and the need for intensive care.
The comparison of the register information revealed that 29% of the patients admitted to hospital care had already been diagnosed with sleep apnea. The number is significant, as only 3.1% of the population of Southwest Finland is getting treatment for sleep apnea. Even though the total number of patients in the study was low, the share of sleep apnea patients was high. The extent of sleep apnea among the patients cannot only be explained by the obesity often met in sleep apnea patients, being one of the already known risk factors for severe COVID-19.
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