Hidden Health Risks: Sleep Apnea and Brain Abnomalities

Can A Child Have Sleep Apnea?

Treatment of childhood OSA actually reverses brain abnormalities!

Sleep Apnea, a sleep disorder that too often goes undiagnosed and untreated, does not limit itself to a specific portion of the population. A common misperception is that OSA only affects middle aged, overweight men. However, it is a disorder that affects an estimated 12 to 28 million Americans, including women and children.

Sleep Apnea affects children too!

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians:

“Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing is common in children. From 3 percent to 12 percent of children snore, while obstructive sleep apnea syndrome affects 1 percent to 10 percent of children. The majority of these children have mild symptoms, and many outgrow the condition. Consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea include failure to thrive, enuresis, attention-deficit disorder, behavior problems, poor academic performance, and cardiopulmonary disease. “

A recent article published in ScienceDaily highlights the positive effects of treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in children, detailing the relationship between OSA and brain abnormalities in children aged 8-11 due to neural network damage. The article highlights a recent study that shows the reversal of these abnormalities when properly treated.

The article reports, “‘OSA is known to be associated with deficits in attention, cognition, and executive function,” said lead author Ann Halbower, MD, Associate Professor at the Children’s Hospital Sleep Center and University of Colorado Denver. In the study, the treatment of OSA is related to improvements in attention and verbal memory. The authors of the study also speculate that the earlier the disorder is diagnosed and treated, the quicker the improvements to these executive brain functions.

‘”Our results point to the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of OSA in children, as it could potentially have profound effects on their development.”’

For anyone, going undiagnosed and untreated can increase many hidden health risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, including diabetes, stroke and cancer. Treatment of OSA helps to decrease these related health risks. We cannot stress this enough, and so we screen all of our patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, hoping to detect any airway related problems and helping all of our patients maintain their health and wellness.

If you have any questions about sleep apnea and your health, please call us at 908-359-6655.

(Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)



Read the original article in ScienceDaily

The American Academy of Family Physicians Journal Article About Sleep Apnea in Children

Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Sleep Apnea

For Your Health: Sleeping in Sync with Your Partner

Sleep Disorders and Sleep Problems

“A 2005 survey by the non-profit advocacy group National Sleep Foundation found that more than a quarter of co-habitating American adults lose sleep from their partner’s sleep issues, and nearly one in four adults spend the night in separate beds or bedrooms because of those problems.”

       -Huffington Post

Sleep problems affect your sleep partner too!There are many sleep issues that can affect not just the person with the problem, but also the person sleeping (or trying to sleep) next to them.  From the noise of snoring, grinding and sleep talking to nighttime ninja fights with those who thrash in their sleep, sleeping partners can suffer from a lack of sleep.

Percentage of Americans suffering from sleep problems:

  • Thrashing 0.5%
  • Sleep Walking   3.6%
  • Sleep Talking    5%
  • Grinding Teeth/Bruxism   8%
  • Chronic Insomnia 10-15%
  • Snoring   59%

Of all of these problems, snoring is by far the most common and widespread, keeping partners from getting a good night of restful sleep.  The lack of sleep can affect their daily life, their ability to concentrate, their attitude and mood, even their health.  According to the Huffington Post article Sleep Problems, “The health benefits of sleep go far beyond feeling rested the next day. Insufficient sleep has been linked with numerous chronic conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers getting sufficient ZZZs — from seven to nine hours per night — an important matter of public health.”

What exactly can you do if your partner’s sleep problems or sleep disorder is becoming your own sleep problem?

Couples have many ways of dealing with these sleep problems.  As mentioned above, almost 25% of American couples have gone so far as to sleep in separate rooms or beds.  If the problems are affecting the couple’s health and relationship, there are ways that professionals can help, depending on the issue.  Sleep studies, medications, behavioral therapy, nighttime orthotics and snoring appliances may help bring some nighttime rest depending on the specific problem.  Sometimes the solution can be as small as rearranging the sleep environment to help promote more restful sleep.

The solutions vary greatly depending on the problems, and whether they are due to a full-blown sleep disorder or just a few minor, manageable symptoms.  However, no matter how minor it may seem, if your sleep is being affected by your partner’s sleeping problems, there will be a toll on your physical and emotional health — as well your relationship.

If you have any questions about how sleep problems and disorders can affect your health we’ll be happy to send pertinent information to you.  If you would like to make an appointment for a sleep apnea screening, please call 908-359-6655.


2005 Sleep Survey by the Sleep Foundation: 

Sleep Problems: How Your And Your Partner Can Sleep In Sync

WebMD: What to Do When Your Sleep Partner Has a Sleep Disorder

Learn more about the hidden health risks of sleep disorders in our series of articles and posts about Sleep Apnea


For Your Health-Smoking Kills Good Bacteria in the Mouth

Smoking Kills Good Bacteria in the MouthSmoking and Oral Health: Disrupting the Body’s Balance

We all know that smoking affects oral health, increasing the risk of oral cancer and gum disease as well as staining teeth.  What you may not know is that smoking disrupts the natural balance of microbial ecosystems in the body by killing good bacteria in the mouth and weakening the immune system.

As reported by ScienceDaily, “According to a new study, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to disease”.

There is a certain amount of healthy bacteria that lives throughout the body, including the mouth.  The study, published in the Journal of Infection and Immunity and cited by ScienceDaily shows that the “the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem – and is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria” than the mouth of a non-smoker.

Bacterial Biofilms

The healthy or good bacteria forms protective biofilms and helps to fight off the bad bacteria.  For those who smoke, it is harder for these bacterial ecosystems to regrow after cleanings.  Without these protective biofilms, harmful bacteria can proliferate much faster in the mouth of a smoker than a non-smoker.

“By contrast [with non-smokers],” said Kumar, “smokers start getting colonized by pathogens — bacteria that we know are harmful — within 24 hours. It takes longer for smokers to form a stable microbial community, and when they do, it’s a pathogen-rich community.”  In addition, the natural immune system of a smoker fights off the good bacteria, treating it as harmful instead of helpful, making it more difficult to maintain a balance.  Often, this immune response, which is at much higher levels than non-smokers, can lead to periodontal or gum disease and even bone loss.

This study adds to the list of the dangers and health risks of smoking and helps to illustrate one of the possible reasons that gum disease is higher in smokers than non-smokers.  If you would like more information on how we can help you with your oral health please call our office at 908-359-6655.



Read the ScienceDaily’s full article