Child Wellness: Sleep apnea and ADD/ADHD
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Recent reports indicate that nearly seven to nine percent of adolescents have some form of ADHD or ADD, but the causes vary.
No direct correlation has been linked to either ADD and ADHD, but the strongest link seems to be genetics. Other causes may be environmental and diet related, but according to Pediatric Sleep expert Dr. Sara Scheid, 25 percent of children have it because of obstructive sleep apnea.
"Because they are stopping breathing at night, so with that poor quality of sleep, they are more hyperactive during the day as opposed to being tired as an adult would be," Scheid said.
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids cause an obstruction to the airway interrupting their ability to sleep well.
"Their oxygen levels at night are dropping, so they are having poor cognitive development, and we are seeing lots of behavioral issues," Scheid said.
Some parents actually witness their child stop breathing altogether. Keep an eye on their position while they sleep.
"You go to look at them at night, they're kind of propped up and their head is back. They are trying to get into a position so they don't obstruct, but they're trying to naturally get into a position where they can get air," Scheid said.
Surgery is an option, which is tonsillectomy or removing the adenoids.
After the surgery, many of the kids are sleeping better and their symptoms have disappeared.