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