Sleep problems linked to severe COVID-19, study finds

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In a new study from Cleveland Clinic, researchers found that people with certain sleep disorders have more severe outcomes from COVID-19, including a 31% higher rate of hospitalization and mortality.

The findings showed that while patients with sleep-disordered breathing and sleep-related hypoxia do not have an increased risk of developing COVID-19, they have a worse clinical prognosis from the disease.

In the study, the team used Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 research registry, which includes data from nearly 360,000 patients tested for COVID-19 at Cleveland Clinic, of which 5,400 had an available sleep study record.

Sleep study findings and COVID-19 positivity were assessed along with disease severity. The team also accounted for co-morbidities such as obesity, heart and lung disease, cancer and smoking.

The team says as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the disease remains highly variable from patient to patient, it is critical to improve our ability to predict who will have more severe illnesses so that they can appropriately allocate resources.

This study improved the understanding of the association between sleep disorders and the risk for adverse COVID-19 outcomes. It suggests biomarkers of inflammation may mediate this relationship.

The study is published in JAMA Network Open. One author of the study is Reena Mehra, M.D.

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