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Sleep Apnea Rarely Investigated in Older Adults

Last Updated: May 16, 2018.

A high risk of obstructive sleep apnea 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.

WEDNESDAY, May 16, 2018 (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, M.D., 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.

The researchers found that 56 percent 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 percent had been tested for OSA. Of those tested, 94 percent were diagnosed with OSA and 82 percent 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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