Sleep Apnea Rarely Investigated in Older Adults

Low rate of evaluation seen in at-risk individuals, but vast majority of those tested are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Low rate of evaluation seen in at-risk individuals, but vast majority of those tested are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

HealthDay News — A high risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common among older adults but is seldom investigated, though when it is investigated, it is almost always confirmed, according to a study published online May 9 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Tiffany J. Braley, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues assessed the rate of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of OSA among 1,052 community-dwelling older adults participating in the National Health and Aging Trends Study who were at risk for the condition. 

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The researchers found that 56% of the participants who completed the sleep module were estimated to be at high risk of OSA. However, of these high-risk individuals, only 8% had been tested for OSA. Of those tested, 94% were diagnosed with OSA and 82% of those diagnosed were prescribed treatment with positive airway pressure.

"These findings suggest a significant gap in OSA assessment for older Americans that could have public health implications," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to biotechnology and medical device companies.

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