Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed problem in children and teenagers. However, as doctors and researchers continue to study obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), more and more evidence is found that behavioral problems in children may not always be linked to ADHD. Instead, they could be a result of sleep apnea. While OSA is most frequently diagnosed in adults, recent studies suggest that up to 10 percent of children may have some form of sleep apnea.
There are a number of symptoms connected with both ADHD and sleep apnea, including:
- Difficulty focusing or paying attention
- Memory lapses
- Restlessness and fidgeting
- Behavioral changes (increased irritability, mood swings, etc.)
- Depression or aggressive behavior
- Difficulty communicating
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, it is important that you also have them screened for sleep apnea. Getting enough sleep is incredibly important at any stage of life. While asleep, your body heals and your immune system regenerates. In children, sleep is also the time during which growth hormones are released. If your child has sleep apnea, they are not receiving the full restorative benefits of sleep that they need to recover from the damage and stress of the day and continue growing and developing properly. Early intervention can alleviate a number of problems and help your child enjoy a healthier life.
- Breathing through the mouth while asleep
- Pauses and gasps when breathing during sleep
- Sleeping in unusual positions
- Restlessness while asleep
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Problems with weight gain
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Daytime sleepiness
- Taking more frequent or longer naps
The first step if you notice any changes in your child’s behavior is to visit their pediatrician. We also invite you to call Sleep Healthy PA at 215-572-7566 and make an appointment with our dentist. Dr. Andrew Cohen can help find an appropriate screening method for your child to diagnose sleep apnea and will take a team approach to treatment, including EMTS, sleep physicians, oral surgeons, orthodontists and personal physicians to find the best treatment for your child.
If you have any questions about ADHD and sleep apnea in children in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, contact our office today.