President Biden’s sleep apnea could bring awareness of treatment options for millions

Author: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

After reporters saw indentations on President Joe Biden’s face, his press team admitted the president uses a CPAP mask to help him breathe at night.

Biden has something in common with millions of fellow Americans.

Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition affecting an estimated 30 million people in the U.S.

“It’s characterized by repetitive episodes of insufficient breathing or completely stopping breathing,” said Dr. Joseph Krainin, an advisor to the National Sleep Foundation, which brings awareness to apnea and its health consequences.

“Short term ones are quality-of-life-affecting issues like not waking up feeling refreshed, morning headaches. It can cause acid reflux. It can make you sleepy during the day. It can make you feel down or depressed, and it can make you feel tired, fatigued,” Krainin said. “Longer term things are medical consequences like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, as well as depression, even cognitive disorders like dementia.”

The president fits squarely into the sleep apnea demographic.

CPAP machine (CREDIT: WINK News)

It is most common in older males and even more so in people who are overweight. A tell-tale sign is snoring as part of a struggle to breathe.

The gold standard treatment is a CPAP mask that forces air down the throat, and that’s what the staff said Biden recently started using.

“It’s very simple. It’s a prescription medical device that takes air from your bedroom, compresses it, delivers it to the back of your throat through a thin, flexible tube, and you wear some sort of mask on your face and prevent those obstructive breathing episodes,” Krainin said.

Biden’s condition was first disclosed in a 2008 medical report, but he just started using the CPAP. Dr. Krainin would like to see him use his voice to reach the millions more Americans who are living with untreated apnea. It’s estimated that 80% of people who have sleep apnea are unaware of it.

“If he talks about it, you know, he’s got such a megaphone to get information out, that it will raise awareness,” Krainin said.

For more information on sleep apnea, visit the link.

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