I must admit that, two months following Super Bowl XLVIII, I’m still flying high from our Seattle Seahawks’ resounding victory. The win has also served to take some of the sting out of my Kansas Jayhawks’ second-round loss in the NCAA national basketball tournament several weeks ago.
Well, back to sleep problems. If you’re reading this you probably have heard of a common but under-recognized, under-diagnosed sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. This is a breathing problem during sleep, in which one’s upper airway episodically collapses or closes down while asleep. A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has demonstrated that sleep apnea is independently associated with an increased risk of cancer, stroke and death, and that apnea sufferers are 4 times more likely to die if the sleep apnea is left untreated longterm as compared to people who do not have the problem. (1)
My wonderful and patient readers have had to put up with my many posts regarding the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. Now it’s time to hear from another authority on the subject: Aaron Taylor, former NFL offensive guard (Packers and Chargers) and now a sports analyst for CBS College Sports. Recently Taylor was interviewed and featured on CNN’s The Human Factor. Here he is, talking about his own journey through the discovery and management of his sleep apnea.
All too frequently I hear from my patients about their longstanding symptoms of daytime fatigue and sleepiness, loud snoring, and gasping sensations out of sleep, and how something kept them from getting properly evaluated in a timely fashion: lack of motivation or time, acclimatization to their symptoms, some misconception about the treatments. However, for many sleep apnea sufferers, treatment can be a total life-changer, resulting in profound improvements in daytime energy levels and wakefulness, a resolution of snoring and breathing pauses during sleep, and, hopefully, reduced risks of developing medical problems in the future. I appreciate Aaron Taylor’s advocacy in bringing sleep apnea awareness to the forefront.
Have a great weekend, everyone!