March 8, 2020
During the coronavirus pandemic, the best thing you can do is to give your body the best possible care to try and stay healthy. Naturally, “a good night’s sleep” should be at the top of your list. But what if you simply can’t get the rest you need? Patients with sleep apnea may find themselves waking up frequently throughout the night – and that could compromise their immunity against the coronavirus and other diseases. To keep you and your family safe, it’s important that you fully understand the effects sleep apnea has on your body.
How Can Sleep Apnea Weaken Your Immune System?
When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing multiple times while you’re asleep, lowering oxygen levels in your bloodstream and forcing your body to keep waking up for air. Over the long term, these issues can lead to a number of health problems, including a weakened immune system. If you suffer from sleep deprivation, your body won’t produce enough of the T-cells it needs to keep the immune system functioning properly, making you more vulnerable to colds and other types of sickness.
How Else Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health?
Sleep apnea can also lead to the following conditions that can drastically lower the quality of your life (and might even put it in danger):
- Heart Problems: People with sleep apnea are more likely to have recurrent heart attacks or strokes.
- Diabetes: A lack of sleep can increase your body’s resistance to insulin, thus leading to diabetes.
- Chronic Exhaustion: If sleep apnea keeps waking you up, you’ll spend your days feeling extremely tired, making it harder to focus. You might even doze off at inconvenient or dangerous times (such as while driving).
Will Sleep Apnea Put You at Risk for the Coronavirus?
While the coronavirus is new and still being studied, we already know that it poses a greater threat to people already suffering from chronic health conditions. This naturally include breathing-related conditions such as sleep apnea. Furthermore, health conditions linked to sleep apnea (heart problems, weaker immune system, and so on) could also leave you more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Age also needs to be taken into account. Those over the age of 65 are more likely to develop sleep apnea, and this group has also been found to be affected much more severely by the coronavirus. Hence, older people particularly need to pay attention to the warning signs of a possible sleep disorder.
If you’ve been told that you snore or often wake up gasping for air, call a sleep dentist near you right away. They give you some advice for managing your condition while in quarantine. Keep your body well-rested to keep your risk from the coronavirus at a minimum!
About the Author
Dr. Kent Smith has helped thousands of patients over the years enjoy restful nights free of snoring and sleep apnea thanks to oral appliance therapy and other appropriate treatments. His Irving practice, Sleep Dallas, is continuing to see patients at this time while taking steps to protect them from the coronavirus. To ask for an appointment, visit our website or call (844) 409-4657.