During a recent office-based sinus surgery, the husband of my patient fell asleep in the exam room. She told me that he often falls asleep when he sits down. He was a bit embarrassed when we woke him but we assured him that he need not worry. I asked him if he is frequently tired during the day, to which he responded “Doc, I’m 70 years old. Of course I get tired!” His wife interrupted to add that they haven’t slept in the same bed for years due to his snoring. The interesting thing is that he is a hearing loss patient of BergerHenry ENT but never mentioned his daytime fatigue or snoring. We discussed a sleep study but he decided against it.
Tag: sleep apnea
Pro Football Hall of Famer, Don Shula, has been hospitalized recently due to complications associated with sleep apnea (OSA). The Miami dolphins legendary coach has suffered from fluid retention likely related to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common condition. Studies in the 1990’s show that nearly 25% of middle-aged men and 9% of middle-aged women in the United States are afflicted with this condition. This number continues to escalate due to ever increasing rates of obesity. Furthermore, the prevalence of sleep apnea increases with aging. (1-3)
As sleeping disorder specialists, we were interested and saddened to read in ESPN Magazine this week about the thoughts of Larry Bird thinking he will die young due to atrial fibrillation which is “an abnormal heartbeat resulting from electrical signals being generated chaotically throughout the heart’s upper chambers.” With proper medication, exercise and diet, atrial fibrillation for Bird could be controlled, but he’s admitted that he doesn’t like taking medication but also has a skeptical view of his longevity anyway. As he put it, “You don’t see many 7-footers walking around at the age of 75.”
Others like him may share the same view. The article speculates that players over 6’ 7” may be subject to greater health risks than players (people in general) who are not as tall. The discussion got more intense after Moses Malone, a former Philadelphia 76er basketball player, died of a heart attack in September, 2015. Darryl Dawkins, another former Sixer, had also died of a heart attack just 2 weeks prior. There is not a lot of research connecting height and longevity but the discussion has begun.