Biden, one of about 30 million people in the US who have the sleep disorder, uses a CPAP device to improve sleep quality.
The White House has announced that US President Joe Biden is using a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP, to address sleep apnea.
The revelation comes as reporters noticed lines on Biden’s face on Wednesday as he prepared to fly to Chicago, Illinois, for a major speech on his economic policy.
Faced with questions about the facial marks — which indicated the president was wearing a mask of some kind — White House officials said Biden had recently started using a CPAP machine to improve his sleep quality.
“Since 2008, the president has disclosed his history of sleep apnea in thorough medical reports. He used a CPAP machine last night, which is normal for people with that history,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates.
However, the incident could add to concerns about Biden’s age. At 80, he is the oldest president in U.S. history, and if he successfully seeks re-election in 2024, he would be 86 by the time his second term ends.
Critics have said such concerns are overblown and Biden’s health remains solid, though polls show voters have consistently expressed concerns about his age.
An NBC poll in April found that about 70 percent of voters believe Biden should not run for a second term in 2024, with 48 percent citing his age as an important factor.
Biden’s Republican rivals have also seized on his age as a campaign issue.
Former President Donald Trump — who is only a few years younger at age 77 — has nicknamed Biden “Sleepy Joe.” And former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has said it is “not likely” that Biden will “live past the age of 86.”
Both Haley and Trump are hopefuls in the 2024 presidential race.
Sleep apnea is a common condition characterized by brief interruptions in breathing during rest and can lead to fatigue, high blood pressure and heart problems.
About 30 million people in the US have the condition and 8 million use CPAP machines, which put a continuous stream of air into a mask worn while sleeping.
In February, Biden’s doctor said he was “fit for duty” after a physical examination. The doctor’s report made no mention of sleep apnea, but said Biden had suffered from sinus congestion “most of his life,” with improvements made after a series of nasal surgeries.
Still, Biden’s blunders and oversights often raise questions about his health in the media.
On Wednesday morning, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “losing the war in Iraq,” though he meant “Ukraine,” a soundbite that again raised questions about his age and mental acuity.