Jim Cappuccino, a 49-year-old sleep apnea patient living in the Baltimore suburbs who was part of Punjabi's study, agreed.
Cappuccino, the owner of a surgical equipment and medical device sales company, knew he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes before enrolling in the study.
Although he can trace the onset of sleep apnea difficulties, such as disruptive snoring and breathing pauses, back to his mid-30's, it was only when he enrolled in the study that he was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea, he said.
"When you're in that career mode, and you're on the go-go-go, you put your health issues on the back burner," he said. "But as I got older, I realized that this is probably something that I should have addressed years ago. I was shocked by the correlation between sleep apnea and heart disease and diabetes, and actually even death, but getting tested and diagnosed and treated has made all the difference. It's actually allowed me to wake up not feeling tired, which hasn't been the norm for me for a few years."
"So the only thing I can say," Cappucino added, "is people who feel that they are having trouble should get tested, because sleep apnea is going to deteriorate your system and lead to many other health problems."
Similar findings that linked severe sleep apnea with a greater risk of dying were reported last year in studies out of Australia and the University of Wisconsin.
For additional information and resources on sleep apnea, visit the American Sleep Apnea Association.
SOURCES: Naresh Punjabi, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Jim Cappuccino, sleep apnea patie
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