Stacy Erickson Edwards was a 32-year-old otherwise healthy individual when she was diagnosed with sleep apnea; having always associated this condition with older, overweight, and just generally unhealthy people, this diagnosis confounded her, but at the same time compelled her to challenge the assumptions and stereotypes that characterized her perception of sleep apnea and the machines used for treating it. The more she learned about the condition, the more she realized how inaccurate these stereotypes were—being healthy, fit, and young did not at all preclude someone from receiving a diagnosis of sleep apnea. In fact, a growing number of millennials are being diagnosed, as well as people who are otherwise considered healthy.
In light of this, she realized how important it was to try to shift people’s perception of the condition and eliminate the stigma attached to the condition in order to encourage people to embrace their diagnosis and use CPAP machines with confidence. She believes this is essential not only to the health of individuals but to the safety of society at large since untreated sleep apnea and associated sleep deprivation poses a threat to safety in many environments. Edwards discusses a range of interesting topics, including sleep apnea in kids and how it can be misdiagnosed as ADHD, the need for better follow-up care by sleep doctors and clinics, and the potential market for the personalization of CPAP machines and masks. Interested in learning more? Contact her on Instagram and visit cpapbabes.com.