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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Childhood Sleep Apnea Treatment can Improve Daytime Attention, Behavior

In addition to being exposed to potential health problems such as heart disease later in life, children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often have trouble staying awake during the day, face difficulty paying attention in school and may have behavioral problems.

All of these issues are caused by the lack of sleep associated with OSA, in which a person’s breathing is interrupted numerous times during sleep because of an airway obstruction. However, new research published in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests that childhood treatment of OSA that results in even three hours of uninterrupted sleep can make a significant difference in the attention, behavior and quality of life of children who suffer from OSA.

The study focused on 52 children with an average age of 12 who were diagnosed with OSA. Ten of the participants had developmental problems. Children in the study used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device during sleep for a three-month period.

Although children only used the device for an average of three hours per night, all of the children in the study—including those with developmental delays—showed improvement in daytime responsiveness, cognition and drowsiness.

While CPAP has proven to be effective in treating sleep apnea, children are perhaps even less likely to use the device long-term than adults. CPAP masks can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, and many patients halt CPAP use soon after they start.

Fortunately, there are oral appliances that have demonstrated success in treating OSA. Consulting with a dentist who specializes in sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment can help determine the best sleep apnea treatment option for you or your child.

Please contact IHateCPAP to locate a qualified sleep disorder dentist near you.

posted by Steve at 2:59 PM