chapter  16
14 Pages

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Elderly

Lavinia Fiorentino and Sonia Ancoli-Israel

INTRODUCTION Many older adults complain of poor sleep. Foley reported that sleep disruption becomes a common problem in aging adults, with reports of 50% of adults over the age of 65 complaining of poor sleep (1). A variety of factors contribute to sleep dis­ ruption in the elderly, including underlying medical and psychiatric illness, medi­ cation use, circadian rhythm disturbances, and specific sleep disorders (2). One type of sleep disorder most commonly diagnosed in the elderly, with prevalence reports of 20% to 81%, is sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) (3-5). In general, SDB encom­ passes a variety of sleep-related breathing disorders ranging from benign snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); however, the term is often used to refer to OSA. In this chapter, we will use the terms SDB and OSA interchangeably, except when explicitly stated otherwise.