Darien, IL – With the recent announcement that obstructive sleep apnea contributed to actress Carrie Fisher’s death, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is reminding the public that this life-threatening disease can have grave consequences for heart health. Untreated, severe obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risks of heart failure, elevated blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, resistant hypertension, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

With millions of sufferers remaining undiagnosed, it is critical to be aware of sleep apnea symptoms and risk factors, which include snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, fatigue or daytime sleepiness, obesity and high blood pressure. People who have symptoms of sleep apnea should discuss their risk with a doctor, who may provide a referral to a board-certified sleep medicine physician at a sleep center that is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Diagnosing sleep apnea and effectively treating it with CPAP therapy can restore healthy sleep and reduce the risk of cardiovascular death.

Additional information about sleep apnea and a searchable directory of accredited sleep centers can be found at sleepeducation.org.

Please contact mkasik@lcwa.com for additional information or to speak with an expert.

About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. The AASM has a combined membership of 10,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals.