It may not be a “co-morbidity,” but difficulty with an activity of daily living (ADL) constitutes a decline in the quality of life for elderly people. According to the article “Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Functional Decline in Older Women“, older women with sleep disordered breathing were found to be at greater risk of decline in the ability to perform daily activities, such as grocery shopping and meal preparation.
The findings come courtesy of a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco. The study was published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study found that women with an AHI on the moderate to severe side, with 15 or more breathing disruptions per hour of sleep, had a 2.2 times greater odds of decline in daily activity functions during the evaluation period, which averaged five years between baseline evaluation and follow-up.
“Because sleep-disordered breathing can be treated effectively, it is possible that treatment could help prevent decline in important areas of functioning that allow older adults to remain independent,” says Adam Spira, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s lead author in the online MedicalXPress. “As is often the case, more research is needed to investigate this possibility.”
“The researchers say they believe it is the low blood-oxygen levels caused by sleep-disordered breathing that cause the trouble with daily tasks, and not sleep fragmentation, which is also increased by sleep-disordered breathing,” says Medicalxpress. “The authors note that women who reported no difficulties with daily activities during their baseline evaluation, but a moderate-to-high AHI, had a somewhat higher risk of reporting deterioration in daily- activity function in the follow-up evaluation. No links between sleep-disordered breathing severity and decline in mobility were observed.”