Home Practice Management Your Sleep, Immune System and COVID-19 – Protect Your Airway

Your Sleep, Immune System and COVID-19 – Protect Your Airway

by Michael Gelb

Lack of sleep and stress compromise our immune system and during these next 12-18 months, we all require strong immunity to prevent a severe reaction to COVID-19 .

The SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic illuminated some of the current deficiencies in our health care system.  Interestingly, the factors that predisposed people to the worst effects of the virus are nearly identical to the associated health impact of poor quality and inadequate sleep.

Though these associations and comorbidites have been well documented and studied, public healthcare initiatives have been unable to have a significant impact on relieving the burden they place on the healthcare system and in society itself.

Now is the time to re-examine our efforts and move towards a more productive and effective system that recognizes all stakeholders that deal with the factors that impact our immune systems and have contributed to the proliferation of diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and so many others.  Now is the time to collaborate rather than segmentalize our healthcare into niches within the system for the benefit of all mankind.

The people who get the most severely sick from COVID-19 will sometimes be unpredictable, but in many cases, they will not. They will be the same people who get sick from most every other cause. Cytokines like IL-6 can be elevated by a single night of bad sleep. Over the course of a lifetime, the effects of daily and hourly stressors accumulate. Ultimately, people who are unable to take time off of work when sick—or who don’t have a comfortable and quiet home, or who lack access to good food and clean air—are likely to bear the burden of severe disease.

Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease, appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than persons without these conditions.

A new study published April 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association characterizes the symptoms, comorbidities, and clinical outcomes of 5,700 patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 in the New York area. The authors found that 94 percent of the patients had a chronic health problem, and 88 percent had two or more. The three most prevalent conditions were hypertension (56.6 percent), obesity (41.7 percent), and diabetes (33.8 percent).

The percentage of COVID-19 patients with at least one underlying health condition or risk factor was higher among those requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission (358 of 457, 78%) and those requiring hospitalization without ICU admission (732 of 1,037, 71%) than that among those who were not hospitalized (1,388 of 5,143, 27%). The most commonly reported conditions were diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease. These preliminary findings suggest that in the United States, persons with underlying health conditions or other recognized risk factors for severe outcomes from respiratory infections appear to be at a higher risk for severe disease from COVID-19 than are persons without these conditions. {CDC}

Lack of sleep and stress compromise our immune system and during these next 12-18 months we all require strong immunity to prevent a strong reaction to COVID-19 .

Eat well, exercise and stay connected to friends and family but most important protect your airway and share this same advice with your patients.

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