In a statement released on Wednesday, the White House confirmed that President Joe Biden suffers from sleep apnea and has started using a medical CPAP device during his nightly sleep to treat the condition. Sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, disrupts the intake of oxygen during sleep and often leads to snoring. In more severe cases, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is used to ensure proper airflow throughout the night.
The president's use of a CPAP machine came to light when reporters noticed indentations on his face while he spoke to the press. These indentations are marks left behind by the mask worn during CPAP device usage. The White House spokesperson stated that President Biden has disclosed his history with sleep apnea in comprehensive medical reports since 2008. Using a CPAP machine is common for individuals with this condition.
While some of the president's supporters expressed discontent over the media's focus on his use of the device, it is widely accepted that any medical condition affecting the U.S. commander-in-chief carries significant importance. Although sleep apnea is not expected to impact the presidency directly, experts in the field were quick to highlight the attention brought to sleep disorders through the president's use of the CPAP device.
Interestingly, the White House's confirmation followed a hypothesis proposed by the National Sleep Foundation, which sent out a press release suggesting that President Biden had CPAP-device indentations on his face.
Dr. Joseph Krainin, a sleep expert affiliated with the National Sleep Foundation, noted that the indentations resembled those caused by a CPAP mask. He explained that sleep apnea is prevalent, particularly as individuals age. Given that President Biden is the oldest U.S. president, it is not surprising that he would be receiving treatment for sleep apnea. Dr. Krainin also mentioned the president's history of a ruptured brain aneurysm, which can contribute to a specific type of sleep apnea where the brain forgets to breathe during sleep.
Since taking office in 2021, President Biden's health has been closely monitored by reporters, with heightened interest following his official announcement to run for re-election in 2024. While campaign events have been limited thus far, they are expected to increase in frequency as the election approaches. It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted campaign events in 2020, with many transitioning to virtual platforms.
The president's use of a CPAP machine is a recent development that was not disclosed previously. The White House has not provided additional details regarding the specific diagnosis, prior treatment, or whether a sleep study was conducted. However, President Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, mentioned in a 2019 report that he had explored the possibility of sleep apnea but observed improvement in symptoms after nasal passage and sinus surgeries.
Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can lead to forgetfulness, fatigue, and cardiovascular issues due to the strain it puts on the heart. President Biden, being the oldest serving U.S. president, is subject to scrutiny regarding his age and health. Despite concerns expressed by some Americans, in February, his doctor declared him healthy and "fit for duty" after a thorough physical examination.
As the president continues to prioritize his health and seek treatment for sleep apnea, the utilization of a CPAP machine underscores the importance of addressing sleep disorders for overall well-being.