Sleep apnoea and falls risk

In 2017, there were almost 6000 hospitalisations due to falls within the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network. Among the elderly in particular, hospitalisation due to falls is becoming an increasingly common problem. 

But do we properly understand why falls occur? Previous studies have only examined balance, or simple walking measures to establish whether an elderly person may be at increased risk of a fall. However, the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) may also be increasing those risks. 

 OSA is a reduction, or cessation, or breathing during sleep, leading to reduced oxygen supply to the brain. 

As the recipient of a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant, Flinders University Research Associate Dr David Stevens will utilise high tech equipment and advanced techniques over an extended period to establish baseline characteristics that can help identify falls risk in OSA patients.  

As the population ages, the prevalence of both falls and OSA will increase. The research of Dr Stevens and his team will help us better understand the risks and protect a vulnerable sector of our society.  

This research is made possible thanks to a generous supporter and generous donations from the community. 


Project title: Physiological profile assessment of a falls risk in untreated and treated obstructive sleep apnoea – a 3-month intervention trial

Lead researcher: Dr David Stevens

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