A recent event held in Dallas Texas urged people who suffer with sleep apnea to use their CPAP masks regularly to avoid serious health problems. The event featured Derek Kennard, a former NFL Lineman for the Super Bowl 30 champion Dallas Cowboys, along with doctors and other athletes.
Problems Among Athletes
Kennard has firsthand knowledge of the problems caused by sleep apnea having been diagnosed with the condition. His brother also passed away, in his sleep, due to a massive heart attack that was linked to his own sleep apnea condition.
These men are not alone. A study of NFL players has shown that as many as 33% of current players struggle with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. This study, released in The New England Journal of Medicine, randomly tested 52 players from various teams.
Not Limited to Just the Big Guys
Over the last several years, new information about sleep apnea has emerged showing that people who are overweight are not the only ones who are at risk for sleep apnea. While the study of NFL players showed that the heaviest players (lineman) have a higher incidence of sleep apnea, there are many other players in prime physical shape who also suffer from the condition.
For instance, the #1 pick of the 2007 NFL draft, quarterback Jamarcus Russell was diagnosed with sleep apnea. And the wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, Percy Harvin, was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2010. Neither of these players has ever been considered heavy or overweight. Yet they have the same problems associated with sleep apnea as their larger colleagues
Problem Persists Across the Country
Sleep apnea is not confined to athletes. Estimates by doctors and sleep experts believe that approximately 15 million Americans are likely going to bed each night with undiagnosed sleep apnea. More importantly, many of the diagnosed have found relief from the use of a CPAP machine and CPAP mask. CPAP machines force air continuously into the airway, allowing the person to breathe…