By: Eugena Brooks
Up until the 1970s, there were no names for common sleep issues. No one had any idea such issues might actually lead to major life disruptions, serious medical problems and even fatalities. Christian Guilleminault, MD (often referred to as “Dr. CG”) changed that by dedicating his life work to discovering, diagnosing, and understanding sleep apnea and other sleep disorders and the myriad of medical conditions that stem from them.
Sleep apnea was once thought to be a harmless byproduct of aging for older men. As a result of Dr. CG’s research, we now know differently. It’s a pediatric issue, a women’s issue, as well as a men’s issue of any age that if left untreated may lead to many other health issues that may shorten life.
Dr. CG was a French physician and researcher in the field of sleep medicine who played a central role in the early discovery of obstructive sleep apnea, co-founded the journal Sleep and helped establish the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center. He co-authored more than 800 journal articles on narcolepsy, sleep apnea, sudden infant death syndrome, snoring and other mostly sleep-related topics and was a true pioneer in the field of sleep medicine.
The work of Dr. CG encouraged deeper understanding of sleep health, made way for better treatments and, created a solid foundation upon which sleep medicine can build going forward in the future. A research giant, Dr. CG coined the phrase obstructive sleep apnea and his most notable works were in the field of pediatric sleep, narcolepsy, and multidisciplinary care.
During the AWAKETOGETHER Summit held in San Francisco in September it was announced that to honor the work most important to Dr. Guilleminault, the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) sleepapnea.org will continue his passion and vision concerning early recognition in pediatrics, interdisciplinary care and other disorders impacted by sleep apnea.
Encouraging the promotion of sharing critical health information across platforms between researchers and other health providers for the purpose of learning and understanding better treatment practices faster.
At 59 years old, and after living with sleep apnea undiagnosed and unchecked for what has most likely been the better part of my whole life, I for one am ready for all this and more to happen.