WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has started using a medical device commonly used to treat sleep apnea to help improve his sleep.
Biden is using a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP, which keeps a person’s airways open during sleep so he or she can receive the oxygen needed to function.
“Since 2008, the president has disclosed his history with sleep apnea in thorough medical reports,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Wednesday. “He used a CPAP machine last night, which is common for people with that history.”
The device includes a mask that is strapped to a person’s face while they sleep. Reporters noticed indentation marks on Biden’s face Wednesday as he departed the White House for Illinois.
What is sleep apnea?
Biden, 80, has a long history of sleep apnea, a common disorder in which breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. The American Medical Association estimates that about 30 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, but only 6 million have been diagnosed with the condition.
Common symptoms include loud snoring, episodes in which one stops breathing during sleep, gasping for air during sleep and the presence of fatigue even after a full night’s rest.
What is a CPAP machine?
One of the most common and effective forms of treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which delivers airflow to the nose and mouth using a face mask or nasal cushion. The flow of air keeps the upper airway passages open, which prevents the brain from having to awaken one’s body during sleep.
The disclosure that Biden, the nation’s oldest president, has begun to use a CPAP machine comes as voters have increasingly said they have concerns about his age.
Biden underwent a physical exam in February.
His physician, Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter released afterward that he remains a “healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.”
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.