Aaron was a first-team All American at the University of Notre Dame, where he won the Lombardi Award as the best lineman in college football. He was a first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers and was a member of its Super Bowl XXXI championship team. He played six seasons in the NFL.
As an elite lineman, Aaron had the size and strength to excel on the football field. But his size also put him at risk: Excess body weight is a major risk factor for sleep apnea. Aaron had snored loudly ever since he was in high school. He also had a lack of energy that began to affect his family life and performance on the field. However, he never sought help from his doctor.
Then tragedy struck. Two people close to him died prematurely. Both had sleep apnea. One of them was NFL superstar Reggie White, his teammate on the Green Bay Packers. White died in 2004 at the age of 43. Sleep apnea contributed to the heart condition that took his life.
The loss of his friends was a reality check that led Aaron to talk to his doctor about sleep apnea. In this public service announcement, Aaron encourages you to “Defend Your Sleep” by getting help for sleep apnea.
About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects 30 million adults in the U.S. It is caused by the collapse of the airway in the back of the nose, mouth and throat during sleep. Two key risk factors for sleep apnea are excess body weight and high blood pressure. The warning signs for sleep apnea include:
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Silent breathing pauses during sleep
- Fatigue or daytime sleepiness
Sleep apnea is a chronic disease that can cause poor quality sleep and affect your mood. It also raises your risk of serious medical problems. These problems can impair your quality of life, hurt your health, and increase your risk of death. Problems that can be caused by sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Erectile dysfunction
The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated effectively. Treatment for sleep apnea is the ultimate defense. It can stop, and even reverse, damage caused by sleep apnea.
Talk to a doctor about your risk for sleep apnea. Encourage your bed partner to talk to a doctor about snoring. The sleep team at an accredited sleep center can draw up a winning game plan to “Defend Your Sleep” by tackling sleep apnea.
Learn more about obstructive sleep apnea at sleepeducation.org.