This Condition Makes You 75% More Likely to Get Long COVID


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Sleep apnea is common in the Black community. Now data shows you’re more likely to develop long COVID if infected with the virus.

The Black community is disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Imagine trying to catch some z’s but your breathing stops and starts unpredictably, jolting you awake. This disrupts sleep and can spiral into high blood pressure, heart disease, and ultimately, death. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is common in the community but largely underdiagnosed. Over the last 20 years, Black men have borne the brunt of this, with their death rates from obstructive sleep apnea continuing to rise, while others, including white people and Black women, have flattened.

And now research shows sleep apnea might raise the long COVID stakes for Black folks. 

Researchers recently discovered that the condition makes people more vulnerable to long COVID, meaning that Black people — who are more likely than white people to have the sleeping disorder — face an even greater risk of living with the effects of COVID-19 long-term.

The study, published in the a recent edition of the journal SLEEP, found that adults with sleep apnea — who are also infected with COVID — may be up to 75% more likely to develop long COVID than those who don’t have it. 

The findings were discovered as part of the National Institute for Health’s Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative. And the data shows that folks with sleep apnea who contracted COVID-19 were at higher risk for hospitalization during the pandemic. Now, researchers are saying they’re more likely to carry the virus’ symptoms for long periods of time. […]

Saving Lives

Close care for individuals with the dual sleep apnea-COVID condition might save lives. Between January 2020 and June 2022, over 3,500 United States residents died from long COVID-related illnesses, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC found that  Black people accounted for the second-highest percentage of long COVID-related deaths at 10%. The majority of deaths — 78% — were reportedly among white people, who represent over three-fourths of the U.S. population.

Read more about the connection between sleep apnea and long COVID in the original article.

Learn more about how COVID uniquely affects the Black community in another Breaking News article.

Find even more Breaking News here.

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