ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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ADHD - Sleep Apnea Connection

Clinical symptoms of untreated Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) may include excessive daytime sleepiness, failure to thrive, bed wetting behavioural problems like ADD/ ADHD and in more advanced cases cardiac complications.

Children with ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are 2 ½ times more likely to be bed wetters. (Southern Medical Journal-1997)

According Dr Martha Cortes DDS –“IT’S NOT ADHD It’s Sleep Apnea in Disguise Generally, children and adults with sleep disorders demonstrate different symptoms.

Unlike adults, who become tired with inadequate rest, children tend to experience hyperactivity when sleep is disrupted. Children are subject to unexpected behavioural changes, which may manifest as attention deficits, hyperactivity, aggression, crying and inappropriate behaviour.

These results of Sleep Apnea may be misdiagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Although sleep apnea is associated with middle age, it is not uncommon in youth and behaviour resulting from the disorder is easily mistaken for hyperactivity rather than fatigue.

(Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the upper airway is blocked during sleep, preventing adequate oxygen from reaching the brain. Normal sleep is disturbed when a person gasps and struggles to resume breathing.

Therefore, snoring is an informative symptom)

In children younger than five years, symptoms of Sleep Apnea include breathing from the mouth, sweating, restlessness and waking up frequently during the night.

Children older than five tend to experience hyperactivity, poor academic performance, hostility, bedwetting, slow growth, short attention span and may sleep in unusual positions (sitting up, legs crossed or slumped over a pillow).

Experts fear children are misdiagnosed with deficit hyperactivity disorder and are medicated to suppress the symptoms of Sleep Apnea while the underlying problem is left untreated.

When left untreated, Sleep Apnea can affect part of the brain involved in learning, thwarting cognitive function and academic performance. In addition, sleep apnea can alter normal growth patterns and can contribute to childhood obesity, as fatigued children are likely to seek carbohydrate-rich, high-calorie food.

( More alarming, new research reveals sleep apnea may lead to long-term health complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease that become present during adulthood. )

A new study has shown that brain abnormalities developed in children with obstructive sleep apnea are reversible with treatment

The studies are the first of its kind and have implications for the further study of ADHD and suggest children with psychological deficits should be carefully examined for sleep disorders. (Drooling and Snoring are indictors of Sleep Apnea)”.

If you would like to watch video

Dr Nina Shapiro on The Doctors: Childhood snoring can lead to behavioral problems.

Newsy Science: Snoring in kids linked to behavioral issue