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CPAP Not As Effective with Elderly Patients

Submitted by New Jersey Snoring Solutions on Sun 04/24/2022 - 23:06
Sleep Apnea Treatment, New Jersey

New research published in January’s Sleep Medicine indicates that, when compared to younger patients, CPAP is a less effective treatment for elderly adults who are over age 80 and have moderate to severe symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

“Our findings suggest that CPAP treatment is not as effective in patients over 80 years of age with OSA when compared to younger patients,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Considering the growing population of elderly patients that is being referred for sleep consultation, large clinical trials are urgently needed to try to solve key questions related to the use of CPAP in patients over the age of 75 or 80,” the researcher reported.

Why is This Research Important?

This is important because sleep apnea is linked to a higher mortality risk in the elderly. Sleep apnea and sleep deficit can exacerbate many health conditions that affect older adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even depression. Untreated OSA is also linked to declining memory and cognition.

The prevalence of sleep apnea is higher in older adults. If symptoms are not effectively treated, the result can be a decline in health and an earlier need for assisted living support. Early and effective intervention is key.

CPAP for Sleep Apnea

OSA is characterized by a repeated collapsing or closing of the throat, often with snoring, during sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine use at night is one common treatment for OSA. CPAP machines release a constant air stream down the throat in order to ensure that the airway stays open. CPAP use can ease snoring and improve sleep quality; however, it requires wearing a mask at night, which many people find uncomfortable. CPAP can also lead to side effects including congestion, dry mouth, chest discomfort and nose bleeds. These drawbacks may lead to lower treatment compliance in elderly patients.

Oral Devices

An alternative to the CPAP machine is an obstructive sleep apnea oral device. These devices are custom made and resemble a sports mouth guard. Studies have shown oral devices to be effective at treating cases of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, without the discomfort and slew of side effects that can come with use of a CPAP machine. Oral devices are also silent, while CPAP machines make noise as air is blown. In addition, since oral appliances are worn inside the mouth, they do not cause sleep position issues like CPAP devices. It may be worth it to explore the use of an oral device if you are an older adult for these reasons. The more a treatment is utilized, the more it can help improve sleep.

Schedule Your Sleep Apnea Treatment Consultation

If you or an elderly loved one are struggling with diagnosed or suspected sleep apnea, you may have many questions. To learn more about sleep apnea treatment, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ivan Stein or Dr. Allan Stein. To schedule a consultation, contact New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions by calling (855) 949-7667.