1 of 3 | President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media Wednesday on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington, D.C., for Chicago. Reporters noticed strap marks on the president's face, after which the White House confirmed Biden has started using a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo
June 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden has started using a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, the White House confirmed Wednesday, after reporters noticed strap marks on both sides of the president's face.
"Since 2008, the president has disclosed his history with sleep apnea in thorough medical reports. He used a CPAP machine last night, which is common for people with that history," deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.
Biden, who is 80 and the country's oldest president, spoke to reporters Wednesday morning as he left the White House for a speech in Chicago, revealing the lines on his face.
According to the White House, Biden has dealt with sleep apnea issues in the past including in 2008 when he was running for vice president.
In 2019, Biden's health record and doctor's report showed sleep apnea "has been considered, but his symptoms have improved significantly after his sinus and nasal surgeries."
The machine the president wears at night is called CPAP -- or continuous positive airway pressure -- which delivers a steady airflow through a hose connected to a mask to help with breathing.
The machine is typically used for people who have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep, or becomes shallow, according to the American Medical Association.
Sleep apnea affects about 30 million people in the United States and roughly 5% to 10% of the worldwide population, according to the Cleveland Clinic which says the sleep disorder is most common in adults over 60.
While sleep apnea is not uncommon in someone Biden's age, a Saint Anselm College poll of New Hampshire primary voters released Tuesday found 70% of the respondents are concerned about the president's age as he runs for a second term. The poll also revealed most supported Biden over Democratic challengers Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson.
In 2021, White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor did not mention sleep apnea, but noted two areas to watch in terms of the president's health including an "increasing frequency and severity of 'throat clearing' and coughing during speaking engagements" and a stiff gait.
Biden's most recent physical was earlier this year. The doctor's report also did not mention sleep apnea, but declared Biden fit to serve as president.