It’s almost a given that you’ll see headlines regarding sleep apnea every few days, about how it’s linked with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, and sudden death. Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where you’re likely to yawns at these findings because you’re so inundated with more interesting medical news and other celebrity media stories. Bare minimum, you might glance at the brief article and think, "that’s interesting," and then go on to the next story.
Recently, there’s been news about the National Transportation and Safety Board making recommendations about mandatory screening for all commercial airline pilots, commercial truck drivers, ship pilots, and transit train operators, in light of many recent events including pilots that fall asleep and miss their destinations due to undiagnosed sleep apnea. Yawn.
A recent Johns Hopkins study showed that if you have severe sleep apnea, you have a 46% increased risk of dying compared with those that have mild to moderate sleep apnea. Yawn. We already know this information. Sleep apnea patients have a much higher risk of dying from heart attacks or strokes.
A study now shows that your risk of developing diabetes is 2-3 times higher if you have severe sleep apnea and you have daytime sleepiness. We already know that sleep apnea is independently linked to diabetes.
I guarantee that many more studies will be released repeating these same findings over and over again, linking or associating one variable to sleep apnea, without flat out saying that one causes the other.
I wonder what will it take to significantly elevate sleep apnea awareness in this country? Celebrities with sleep apnea? We already have a few including Rosie and Regis. Politicians with sleep apnea? With the congress being mostly older men, I’m guessing about 1/3 to 1/2 of our leader have at least some degree of sleep apnea.