Jack Hanna seeks treatment for sleep apnea

So, what has 16 gorillas, 2 polar bears, a flock of flamingos, and a CPAP machine? The answer is Jack Hanna, wildlife expert and Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo.

On Wednesday, June 9, Jack Hanna announced that he was seen by sleep technologists at OhioHealth Sleep Services. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea and then returned to have his CPAP treatment titrated to the proper levels, even posting a photo taken during the test.

As with many suffering from sleep apnea, it was at the urging of a bed partner that Mr. Hanna was finally tested for this condition.

"I haven't slept well for years," he wrote on his Facebook page. "Recently, Sue swore I wasn't breathing, so I made an appt. w/ OhioHealth Sleep Services."

While this story is not unusual, it is unfortunate that so many people put off treatment of this serious condition, chalking it up merely to a poor night's sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to or worsen a number of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other respiratory disorders. It is a potentially fatal condition, but is easily treatable in most cases. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP, a machine that pressurizes room air and delivers it to the patient through a mask or nasal pillows.

Mr. Hanna wrote, "I'm not excited about hauling around a mask, but golly, I'm sure looking forward to having more restful nights!"

While most of us do not travel as extensively as he does, a CPAP machine is fairly lightweight, and for those traveling by plane, the TSA is quite used to travelers using them, so you should have no problems getting through airport security with your machine.

While Mr. Hanna certainly does not qualify as someone who needs the extreme weight loss help provided in this column, it is always good to see celebrities embrace the opportunities they are given to help spread the word about important topics. Thank you, Mr. Hanna, and all the best in your treatment and your work.