covid: Sleep Apnea Plus Covid A Bad Cocktail: Doctors | Kolkata News

Kolkata: Covid infection in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) tends to have an adverse treatment outcome, according to doctors across city hospitals who said managing such patients has been quite a challenge during the pandemic. Such patients are likely to a relapse of OSA after recovering from Covid, they said.
“People with OSA are generally obese or morbidly obese and hence they tend to have multiple comorbidities that include diabetes and hypertension. As a result, they are at a higher risk of a bad Covid with high chances of mortality. We have had a very bad experience managing these patients,” said Yogiraj Ray, associate professor of infectious diseases at IPGMER.
OSA is a condition in which the upper airway path gets blocked while sleeping. Breathing can become slow or it can even stop briefly. “While the recovery from Covid in these patients can be turbulent and long, Covid can worsen the OSA post recovery. These patients should ensure they comply with all OSA treatment protocol with regular check-ups to avoid nocturnal hypoxia,” said Aviral Roy, consultant intensiveist at Medica Superspecialty Hospital.
Director of pulmonology at CMRI Raja Dhar warned that even Covid can trigger OSA in some obese people who had the symptoms but had remained undiagnosed. “Even patients who had mild Covid might develop sleep disturbance, insomnia, change in sleep cycle, worsening of sleepiness and lethargy. People who had OSA tend to discontinue the treatment during or post Covid, including wearing the CPAP mask fearing that this will make them even more breathless or due to the cough and cold. So their OSA can get worsen,” said Dhar.
Sleep apnea can also lower the flow of oxygen to the organs and cause uneven heart rhythm. “If left untreated, an OSA patient can develop acute conditions like heart , pulmonary hypertension and stroke in the long run,” said Suresh Ramasubban, pulmonary and critical care specialist at Apollo Multispecialty Hospital.
Even as OSA and Covid do not have any direct relation since the condition is related to obesity, doctors fear the pandemic causing indirectly causing weight gain in many putting them at risk of OSA. “Covid restrictions had forced many to work from home for two years, leaving not much avenue for physical activities. One concern as its repercussion is people gaining weight putting them at risk for OSA,” said Souma Das, pulmonologist at Manipal Hospitals Kolkata.

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