Over 50 percent of older adults are at a heightened risk for sleep apnea, but research shows that very few of them are ever tested for it. In fact, a new study shows only 8 percent of high-risk older adults are ever screened for the dangerous condition. When you know more about sleep apnea, it could help you to determine if your aging parent should be screened.
The Sleep Apnea Study
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The researchers examined data collected from 1,052 people on Medicare that was gathered through surveys. Some of the questions on the survey asked about risk factors for sleep apnea.
The results of the study indicated that even when there were risk factors present, older adults were rarely screened for the condition. And, in those who were screened, sleep apnea was almost always diagnosed.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
There are several things that put a person at greater risk for having sleep apnea. Some of the risk factors are:
-Weight: People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk because fat can interfere with airways. However, people who are thin can also have sleep apnea.
-Thick Neck: People with larger neck circumferences (greater than 16 inches in men and 14 inches in women) often have airways that are narrower.
-Gender: Men are two times more likely than women to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.
-Smoking: Smoking can cause inflammation in the airways and fluid retention, putting smokers at a three times higher risk for sleep apnea.
-Nasal Congestion: People who have trouble breathing through their noses, such as people with allergies, may develop sleep apnea.
-Age: Older adults are more likely to have sleep apnea that younger adults.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
When an older adult has sleep apnea, they may have the following symptoms:
When older adults are diagnosed with sleep apnea, the doctor may suggest that they use a CPAP machine or other device while they are sleeping. An elder care provider can remind the senior to use the device. They can also assist them to properly wear and adjust it at bedtime. CPAP machines need regular cleaning, which an elder care provider can assist with.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Alabaster AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...