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White House officials confirmed Wednesday that President Biden has started using a CPAP machine over the last few weeks to deal with sleep apnea, The New York Times reported.

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“Since 2008, the president has disclosed his history with sleep apnea in thorough medical reports,” said Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, according to the newspaper. “He used a CPAP machine last night, which is common for people with that history.”

Biden shared over a decade ago that he has sleep apnea but his presidential doctor did not mention it when he was getting his health assessed in 2021 and 2023, the newspaper reported. However, in 2019, his doctor did not say that he had gotten multiple nasal passage surgeries to help with his sinuses.

Biden, 80, is the oldest person to serve as president of the U.S. Biden’s age and health have been a concern and focus of voters as he is seeking a second term in the 2024 election, said Reuters.

What is a CPAP machine?

A CPAP machine is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, the Times reported.

The National Institutes of Health says that the machine “uses mild air pressure to keep breathing airways open while you sleep,” CNN reported.

The hope is with keeping the airways open as you sleep, you get a better night’s rest.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says a CPAP machine comes with a mask to fit over your nose, straps to keep the mask in place, a tube to connect the mask to the motor, and a motor that blows air.

The CPAP should be worn when you take naps, travel, and sleep at home, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says.

What are the benefits of a CPAP machine?

CPAP machines help to prevent airway closure by keeping it open with air pressure, according to Yale University. The devices are expected to be used every night.

Some of the benefits of using a CPAP machine include prevention or control of high blood pressure, lower risk for stroke, and improving both memory and other cognitive functions, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is when a person frequently pauses in breathing while they are sleeping, the Times reported.

It is a common sleep disorder that can cause snoring and fatigue during the day, the Mayo Clinic said, according to Reuters. Sleep apnea can also lead to heart issues and high blood pressure.

The most common kind of sleep apnea is where the throat muscles relax, Reuters reported. This blocks the airflow into the lungs.

Factors include age, according to Reuters.

The American Medical Association says that about 30 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to CNN.