Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Look for Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children

Although the majority of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers are men over age 50, women and even children can suffer from this potentially dangerous or deadly condition. If your child is restless, has trouble focusing in school or cannot remember lessons he may be suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), or it may be the result of obstructive sleep apnea. In talking to your doctor about your child's behavior and learning problems, it is important to consider and discuss sleep apnea, which can often cause not just ADHD symptoms, but can lead to long-term health problems if not properly diagnosed and treated.

When children are diagnosed with ADHD, the typical treatment regimen is pharmacological, but ADHD drugs come with potentially serious side effects and a lifetime of dependence. Furthermore, if the root cause of the problem is sleep apnea, the drugs may not seem to work until the dosages are increased to very high levels. However, sleep apnea can be treated with much less invasive methods, including either continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral appliance therapy.

It is unknown how many children suffer from this condition, but it may be as much as 13% of children aged 3 to 6 and perhaps 8% in older children. As many as 30% of overweight teens may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and if a child has had a broken nose or has a deviated septum, he or she is at a high risk for sleep apnea.

If your child is having trouble in school, has difficulty focusing, or has consistent behavioral problems, he or she may be suffering from sleep apnea. To learn more about pediatric sleep apnea and how to treat it, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 2:21 PM