Sleep apnea in the elderly

Clin Geriatr Med. 2005 Nov;21(4):701-12, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2005.06.009.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common clinical condition associated with obesity. A high prevalence of sleep apnea exists in the elderly, presumably because of changes in oropharyngeal collapsibility. Elderly patients may be less likely to seek medical attention for this condition, because they are less likely to be symptomatic. Excessive daytime somnolence is a known consequence of untreated OSA, but adverse cardiovascular consequences, such as hypertension, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure, are more serious in older patients. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is the most effective treatment of OSA, although compliance remains an issue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy