Even though old age brings with it problems, this does not mean you’re too old to benefit from CPAP therapy if newly diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Never say, “I’m 85, what’s the use,” upon being newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and being told you need CPAP therapy.
Just because the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea isn’t a pill doesn’t mean that you can be too old for CPAP.
Look at it this way: Can you ever be too old for your airway to stop collapsing during sleep? CPAP prevents this.
And unlike many other treatments for other medical conditions, the effect of CPAP is immediate.
The repeated collapses of your airway will cease the first night of CPAP use.
You’re never too old to wake up feeling more refreshed than you have in years.
This information comes from a study that appears in Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study involved 278 people over age 65 with obstructive sleep apnea.
It’s believed that the prevalence of OSA in elderly people is underestimated because older people, along with their family members, are quick to blame old age for the symptoms that untreated sleep apnea often cause:
• Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
• Excessive napping
• Brain fog
• Frequent overnight trips to the bathroom
Still convinced that CPAP therapy is no use because you’re very old?
Here’s something to consider: Overnight trips to the toilet correlate strongly to fall risk in older people! In fact, this risk is present for all ages.
A large study (Choi et al) showed a striking risk of falls related to sleep interruptions to urinate.
If you think you’re too old to get treated for sleep apnea, ask yourself if you’re also too old for a hip fracture after stumbling in the dark in a half-awake state and crashing to the floor.
Ask yourself if you’re too old to be discovered by your spouse or other family member on your bedroom floor unconscious from a fall.
We all have to die sometime, right? But there is never a good reason to die from a cause that was generated by the foolish decision to reject a highly effective treatment for a serious medical condition.
And besides, the fall on the way to the loo that knocks you out won’t necessarily kill you; it could just make you end up spending the next five years confined to a wheelchair and drooling.
Untreated sleep apnea often leads to enough daytime grogginess in senior age people that this daytime symptom, as well, increases their risk of falls.
You cannot win with untreated sleep apnea no matter what your age.
Too Old to Feel Rejuvenated?
“Many patients feel rejuvenated after using CPAP because they’re able to sleep much better and it may even improve their brain function,” says Professor Mary Morrell in the report, one of the authors of the Imperial College London study.
Do you find it’s been getting tough to remember names of people or things? Maybe it’s your untreated sleep apnea talking.
No matter how bad your heart may be or how many pills you’re taking for various conditions, there is no age limit for the effectiveness of CPAP therapy for sleep apnea.