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Can You Guess Which Athletes Use CPAP Therapy for Sleep Apnea?

shaquille o'neal, athletesThis is part of a series of educational posts in recognition of Sleep Apnea Awareness Day.  From April 15-May 15, Better Rest Solutions will donate $5 to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) for every SoClean® 2 CPAP Cleaning and Sanitizing Machine purchased.

If you’re one of the 18 million Americans who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, the good news is that there are simple ways to treat this sleep disorder so that you can continue engaging in all your normal daily activities and maintain a high quality of life.

As you deal with the effects of this disorder, keep in mind that you’re not alone. In fact, some of your favorite athletes past and present may have also been diagnosed with sleep apnea, as their large body masses and neck sizes put them at high risk.

Here’s a look at a few of the most well-known athletes who have been diagnosed with this disorder:

Percy Harvin

The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver – who The Associated Press recognized as the Offensive Rookie of the Year for the 2009 NFL season – was diagnosed with sleep apnea in August 2010 after he collapsed at practice.

In an interview with reporters, the Super Bowl Champion talked about how much better he felt immediately after receiving CPAP therapy, noting that his migraines have even stopped.

"It's a 100 percent difference. I'm not waking up groggy. I'm waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go,” Harvin said.

Shaquille O’Neal

The seven-foot-one retired NBA basketball player recently opened up about his sleep apnea in a video produced by Harvard Medical School titled “Shaq Attacks Sleep Apnea.”

In the video, his girlfriend, Nicole Alexander, affectionately jokes about how much the four-time NBA champion used to snore. The video then shows Shaq getting fitted for a CPAP device, which he says has made a big difference.

“Since I met with Dr. C., I’ve been getting at least seven, eight, nine hours of sleep a day. I feel good, the weight is good, got a lot of energy, the relationship is good at the house. Everything is working,” Shaq said.

Warren Sapp

Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, a former defensive tackle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders, was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2013. Since then, he has joined forces with sleep apnea expert Dr. Jonathan Greenburg to spread awareness of this disorder and educate people worldwide.

The campaign chronicles Sapp’s journey of being diagnosed with sleep apnea and receiving treatment – though Sapp has chosen to use a hybrid oral appliance called the ZYPPAH instead of a CPAP machine.

While millions of people have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are many who remain undiagnosed, putting them at risk of potentially serious health complications.

To find out if you have may have sleep apnea, take a simple online test today.

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc