The recent untimely death of OxiClean pitchman Billy Mays due to a heart attack brought up memories of Tim Russert, moderator of NBC’s Meet The Press, and Reggie White, NFL Hall of Fame linebacker. They all died at a relatively young age. The sad thing is that after all the media coverage, people are not changing their health habits one bit.
One common situation that I see in anyone who had either a heart attack or a stroke at a relatively young age is the very high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea. It’s estimated that about 1/4 of all men will have at least some amount of obstructive sleep apnea, and that about 80% of these men are not diagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea can cause or aggravate obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, heart attack, or even stroke. Statistically, it’s highly probably that all three of the above mentioned celebrities had undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. Actually, Reggie White had known sleep apnea, but was unable to use his prescribed treatment regimen.
Even young, thin women who don’t snore can have obstructive sleep apnea, but the condition becomes much more common as one gains weight. Superstar female talk show hosts are susceptible too.