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Cardiovascular Events May Be Linked To Untreated Sleep Apnea

Rachel Tayse
A CPAP machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea, which affects an estimated 22 million people in the United States.


Untreated sleep apnea can be devastating for health over a long period of time, according to Neurologist and Director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Center Eric Dyken. Dyken joins host Ben Kieffer to give advice to people experiencing sleep problems and explain both the potential dangers of and treatments for sleep apnea. 

Susan Zollo shares the story of her son, Mark, who died at age 51 last year of a massive cardiovascular event. Zollo says obstructive sleep apnea was a significant underlying factor that contributed to his condition. She urges people to seek out treatment ahead of time to avoid impacts on the heart.


Dyken says the warning signs of sleep apnea often include loud snoring, difficulty staying asleep, shortness of breath, reflux, heartburn, and feeling tired despite getting enough hours of sleep. He encourages people to seek out a doctor if they are experiencing these symptoms, since untreated sleep apnea can take a significant toll on long-term health.

Later on, Dyken offers health advice and answers questions from callers across Iowa about a range of sleep problems. 


  • Eric Dyken, neurologist and director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Center
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River