A review of data from a sleep apnea study involving 263 children between the ages of 6 and 11 indicates that children with OSA may suffer from higher rates attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many instances of which go undiagnosed. OSA and ADHD are often shared in children, and previous research has suggested that children with sleep apnea experience higher rates of behavior problems and learning disabilities.
The initial study, known as the Tucson Children’s Assessment of Sleep Apnea Study, found that 21 children demonstrated persistent sleep apnea while another 23 developed signs of sleep apnea during the study. A recent five-year follow-up with the participants revealed some good news: 41 of the children who presented with signs of sleep apnea no longer experienced breathing problems during sleep.
However, children who showed signs of sleep apnea during the study also had a higher rate of behavior and learning problems. The full findings of the research, which was led by an assistant professor at the University of Tucson, will be published in the April issue of the journal Sleep.
If your child—or any member of your family—snores regularly or has other symptoms of sleep apnea, a knowledgeable dentist may be able to help. There are a number of comfortable and effective sleep apnea treatments available.
Left untreated, OSA can lead to worsening problems, including an increased risk for severe health problems such as hypertension and heart attack.