Sleep Apnea Treatment May Reduce Risk of Flu Hospitalization
Posted: November 17, 2020
The 2020-2021 flu season is here, and with it is a new study that suggests sleep apnea treatment may help reduce your risk of hospitalization with the flu. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, offered some interesting insights into how adherence to CPAP therapy may help reduce the severity of seasonal flu infection. Therefore, it may be time to step up your game with CPAP therapy compliance.
Sleep apnea comes with many risks. For example, an increased risk for heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and other serious conditions. However, what many don’t realize is that the seasonal flu is also a risk. Those with sleep apnea may experience severe symptoms or complications of the flu. Many medical professionals believe that sleep apnea can negatively affect your immune system, as the sleep disorder can hinder sleep quality. The new study suggests that sleep apnea treatment may help keep your immune system ready to fight a flu infection. This may help reduce your risk for serious influenza complications.
The CDC estimates approximately 12,000 to 61,000 people die each year of the flu. As flu season continues to get worse amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are concerned about how to protect themselves, especially since research suggests that it’s possible to have both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time. A double infection may lead to more severe symptoms or complications. We are urged each flu season to wash our hands, stay home if we’re feeling ill, and other precautions to help reduce the spread of influenza. In addition, those with sleep apnea may also benefit from CPAP therapy to help fight the flu.
A Recent Study Suggests that Sleep Apnea Treatment May Help Reduce Your Risk of Hospitalization for Flu Complications
The study looked at hospitalization rates for flu complications in those with sleep apnea between 2016 and 2018. Each person in the study had both sleep apnea and a confirmed influenza diagnosis. The researchers looked at patients who followed their sleep apnea treatment regimen by using their CPAP device regularly and those who did not use CPAP therapy. Then, they looked at different hospitalization rates between the two groups. Those who didn’t use a CPAP device were about five times more likely to be hospitalized for the seasonal flu. In the group who didn’t use CPAP therapy, 61% were hospitalized for flu complications. Of those who did follow their sleep apnea treatment plan with CPAP therapy, only 24% were hospitalized. This information suggests that CPAP therapy may help reduce your risk for severe symptoms and complications with an influenza infection.
How Sleep Apnea May Affect Your Immune System
The researchers suggested that sleep’s effects on the immune system may be why sleep apnea treatment was linked with lower rates of flu hospitalization. However, CPAP therapy can help improve sleep quality if you have sleep apnea. This may, in turn, help keep your immune system strong enough to fight infections like the flu.
Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. During these apnea events, your body will wake you up to help you resume breathing. You may not even remember waking during the night. However, these interruptions can make it difficult to get the restful sleep you need for your health. Even if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, patients with sleep apnea may not enjoy the benefits of a full night’s sleep. Frequent apnea events can disrupt or prevent deep sleep. That’s why it’s important to follow your sleep apnea treatment plan. CPAP therapy helps improve sleep quality for many people with sleep apnea. It can also help reduce many of the risks associated with sleep apnea.
Why would sleep apnea affect your risk for severe flu infections? When you don’t get enough sleep, or you don’t get good quality sleep, your body reduces the number of cells and antibodies that fight infections. This can leave you vulnerable to getting the seasonal flu. Also, sleep apnea may increase your risk for other conditions that can negatively impact your body’s response to the flu virus. For example, obesity and type 2 diabetes may affect your immune system. However, sleep apnea treatment can help reduce these risks and help you get the quality sleep you need.
Take Part in your Sleep Apnea Treatment Regimen with CPAP Therapy
CPAP therapy is the standard for sleep apnea treatment because it’s effective and non-invasive. CPAP therapy can help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea like daytime fatigue. It can also help reduce your risk factors for many other serious health complications. This new research suggests that using your CPAP device may also help you fight a flu infection and reduce your risk for hospitalization from the seasonal flu.
Unfortunately, many people still don’t comply with their sleep apnea treatment. Generally, CPAP compliance means using your device for four hours per night and at least 70% of the time. Non-compliance with these guidelines can negatively impact your health.
There are many different reasons why people may not adhere to their CPAP therapy. However, many of these issues are simple to solve if you discuss them with our provider. For example, many people say they stop CPAP therapy because their mouth gets dry or they experience congestion. To help with this, the devices we provide feature a built-in humidifier for optimal comfort while you sleep.
CPAP Mask Fit
One of the number one reasons why patients may stop their sleep apnea treatment is because they find their mask uncomfortable. However, there are many different options to help with this. Many people mistakenly believe that there’s only one mask option, but there are actually several different choices.
Today, there are four basic types of masks to choose from for the most comfortable fit:
- Full Face Masks: These fit over your nose and mouth and are a great option for those who breathe through their mouth while they sleep.
- Nasal Masks: These CPAP masks sit over your nose to help keep your airways open while you sleep.
- Nasal Pillow Masks: Gel pillow masks offer minimal contact with your face, creating a seal around each of your nostrils.
- Nasal Cradle Masks: Nasal cradle CPAP masks fit just below the nose without contact with the bridge of your nose for comfort.
Making sure your mask is comfortable and fits properly can help you sleep comfortably with your CPAP device. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as not everyone’s face is shaped the same way. Our team will help you find a mask option that works for you.
Modern CPAP Devices Make Sleep Apnea Treatment Comfortable and Convenient
Today’s CPAP devices offer modern technology to make them lighter, quieter, and more comfortable than ever before. Automatic settings for humidity, air pressure, and other elements help make your sleep apnea treatment simple and comfortable to wear during the night. Also, modern CPAP devices offer connectivity options to help keep you informed. For example, you can connect your device to your smartphone to get information like the number of hours you wore your CPAP or even alerts if it detects a mask leak. Therefore, modern CPAP devices make it easier than ever to improve your sleep health. This is especially important this flu season.
Sleep Apnea Treatment with Low T Center
In addition to advanced CPAP options, it’s also important to have a team on your side for sleep apnea treatment support. Our team provides ongoing monitoring to help optimize your results. When you need a CPAP device, we take the time to help you find the right options for you. We have you try on different masks and even lie down in a comfortable room. This can help you test the fit and find the most comfortable option for you.
Our sleep team also monitors your sleep apnea treatment and makes remote adjustments as needed to help maximize effectiveness for your CPAP therapy. We have a dedicated sleep team led by our Harvard-trained head of sleep medicine to provide you with the comprehensive care you need for sleep apnea. We are available any time you have questions or if you need help troubleshooting. Also, if we notice things like a mask leak or non-compliance, we’ll give you a call to check in and make sure everything is okay. We are here to help you improve your health, which is why we are here to work with you and find personalized solutions for CPAP therapy to help reduce the risks of sleep apnea, including potential flu complications this season.
Men’s health management at Low T Center is simple, affordable, and comfortable. Our team addresses the underlying causes of your symptoms to help you feel your best. When you need sleep apnea treatment, we are here to help you at every step. We’ll even automatically ship your CPAP supplies straight to your door to make everything as simple as possible. Book an appointment with us today to start the path toward better sleep and better health!
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.