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The Death of Reggie White - Sleep Apnea Can Kill You - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risks

The Death of Reggie White - Sleep Apnea Can Kill You - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risks
The Death of Reggie White - Sleep Apnea Can Kill You - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risks

News reports about the unexpected death of Reggie White, just weeks after his 43rd birthday, highlight the potential danger of obstructive sleep apnea and related breathing disorder.

The sudden death of Reggie White at the age of 43, clearly show up the possible risk of sleep apnea and allied breathing disarray.

A short review of Reggie White’s biography may possibly be helpful in countering queries about him.
Reggie White, a professional soccer player, played for Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. He was twice awarded the title “Defensive Player of the Year.”  Even after his retirement in 2000, he was still holding the record title.

"The Minister of Defense" is a nickname given to him before his retirement, when he was still active in his career. This identity turned out to be of a different meaning, when he was playing a role of the creator of “Christian Athletes United for Spiritual Empowerment” off the field.

Associated Risks with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

According to an estimate about 2 to 4 percent of United States populace is affected by obstructive sleep apnea. The sufferers are 2-7 times exposed to vehicle accidents, arrhythmias, pulmonary hypertension, cardiovascular irregularity, heart failure, drowsiness attacks during daytime etc.

In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathing is interrupted in short intervals during sleep at night. Normally, these interruptions remain for 10-30 seconds and can repeat for about 400 times during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to the obstruction in trachea and the person finds it quite difficult to inhale adequate air. The reason of this obstruction may be due to creation of extra fatty matter in the throat, uvula, tonsils or tongue.

Identification and Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

High snoring and excessive sleepiness are the basic revelations of obstructive sleep apnea disease. Nonetheless, a patient can overcome both of these conditions by proper treatment. Normally, a bed partner is the first person, who notifies the loud snoring or lengthy breathing pauses of his/her associate while sleeping at night. The sufferers mostly nag about mood shifts, unconsciousness, libido failure, morning time headaches and drowsiness throughout daytime.

A polysomnography is considered as the standard examination of obstructive sleep apnea. This examination is carried out whole night in a laboratory. However, it can also be performed in homes but only when it seems impossible to test in a laboratory due to patient’s condition.


 A diagnosis of sleep apnea is based on the Respiratory Distress Index (RDI) -- the number of respiratory disturbances per hour of sleep (apnea plus hypopnea (low blood oxygen). According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), an RDI of 0 to 5 in normal; 5 to 20 is mild; 20 to 40 is moderate; over 40 is considered severe.

Sleep apnea is treated by keeping in view the quantity of sleep disorders every hour and level of oxygen in the blood.  Up till 5 sleep breaks are considered normal, whereas, rising from 5-20 are mild, 20-40 are moderate and above 40 sleep breaks are measures critical.

As a primary healing, the patient is instructed to exclude sleeping pills, alcohol, take weight reduction measures and to change the sleeping position from back to sideways.
If these straightforward methods do not show improvement, then CPAP is suggested.

As a last resort, surgery is carried out in the top breathing area to correct the flaw in the breathing process. In tonsillectomy, the procedure is straightforward, whereas, maxillomandibular expansion is an intricate one, where, mandible and maxilla are both expanded at the same time. Surgery is carried out seeing the acuteness of the disease and when other treatment options such as CPAP fails to treat the apnea.
The Death of Reggie White - Sleep Apnea Can Kill You - Pbstructive Sleep Apnea Risks

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