Athletes and Sleep Apnea

Did you play high school or college sports?  Was it football or basketball? A New England Journal Medicine Study links pro football players, even younger ones, with sleep apnea.  Sleep Apnea, also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway.  Common signs include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. 

Shaquille O’Neal and Anthony Bennett both have sleep apnea and it was adversely affecting their performance on the court before they sought treatment.

Shockingly, 1 in 3 NFL players suffer from sleep apnea. Percy Harvin, Warren Sapp and Jamarcus Russell were diagnosed and are being treated.  Sadly, Reggie White, arguably the greatest defensive lineman ever, died prematurely at age 43 from undiagnosed sleep apnea.  His wife has even created a foundation to help educate others on the seriousness of sleep disorders.  You can learn more at http://reggiewhitefoundation.org/.

But sleep apnea doesn’t just affect bigger sized men, it also occurs in women, especially during pregnancy and after menopause.  In fact, sleep apnea affects nearly 25 million adults and even some children.  Untreated OSA raises your risk for serious health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes, among many others. 

Good news though!  Dr. Yates and his talented team can help you get screened and treated.  Should your sleep apnea be mild to moderate you can be fitted for oral appliance therapy, similar to a mouth guard.  And we know all athletes are very familiar with wearing one of those!

Don’t snore another night – call our office today as we are waiting to help you get the best night’s rest for the “rest of a long, healthy life.”