Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puberty Puts Teens at Higher Risk for Sleep Apnea

A study published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that teens’ and children’s breathing may be affected differently by obesity. The study showed that obesity increased teens’ risk for sleep apnea but did not raise younger children’s risk.

Sleep studies were given to 234 Caucasian children. Each child was between two and 18 years of age. They all had histories of snoring and were under evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Results indicated that the risk of OSA among Caucasian adolescents 12 years of age and older increased 3.5 fold with each standard-deviation increase in body mass index (BMI). But the risk of OSA did not significantly increase with increasing BMI among children younger than 11.

BMI is a measurement of your body fat based on your height and weight. Find out your BMI here.

The results surprised the authors, according to a press release. Dr. Mark Kohler said that they had not expected sleep apnea risk to vary by age.

The results suggest that development changes during puberty may cause the higher sleep apnea risk in obese teens.

Tonsil size may impact the risk of developing OSA. But obesity among snoring teens should be considered grounds for physician referral regardless of tonsil size.

The release noted that African-American children seem to have a higher risk for OSA independent of obesity.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) two percent of otherwise healthy young children have OSA.

If you are a parent, here is what you should look for. Kids with OSA often seem like they are working hard to breathe during sleep. They will snore loudly and may stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds or gasp for breath. If you notice these signs, speak with a physician.

Click here to read the AASM’s fact sheet on OSA in children

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.