Thursday, February 11, 2010

Children with Sleep Apnea Face Health Issues

A new study published online in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that children suffering from severe sleep apnea might experience effects of this condition during the day.

The study occurred in Taiwan. It included 138 children. Eighty-five boys and 53 girls participated. They were six to 11 years of age.

The children’s parents filled out the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The CBCL looks at eight behavior aspects, including somantic complaints and attention. Somantic complaints include unexplained medical problems like stomachaches and headaches.

CBCL questionnaires also look at anxiety, depression, withdrawal, social problems, thought problems, delinquent behavior and aggressiveness.

The children’s teachers also filled out Teachers Report Forms (TRF). TRF examine academics, adaptive functioning, and behavioral and emotional problems.

Each child took a sleep study to test for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea happens with the airway collapses, preventing airflow. The body wakes up to breathe, causing an arousal. This pattern can happen hundreds of times a night.

Children who woke up more than 15 times per hour were considered to have severe sleep apnea. Children who had one or less arousal from sleep per hour were controls.

Parents and teachers indicated that children with severe sleep apnea had more attention problems and somantic complaints during the day than the controls. They also had higher body mass indexes (BMI). A high BMI and excess body weight can worsen sleep apnea.

The results suggest that children with severe SDB may be predisposed to somatic complaints and attention problems. Sleep examination or medical intervention might be provided at an early age in these 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.