Sleep Apnea is a condition where you stop breathing while you are sleeping.
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition where the upper airway is blocked.
• A person with sleep apnea stops breathing repeatedly while sleeping anywhere from 10 seconds to as long as 3 minutes.
• There are approximately 40 million adults affected by sleep apnea.
• Sleep apnea also affects children. Up to 5% have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
• Dentists have a role in diagnosing sleep apnea.
During an exam, we look at the tonsils and adenoids as well as the teeth.
• Children with sleep apnea usually have enlarged tonsils, adenoids, narrow arches, and a high palatal vault.
• It is possible that a percentage of these children diagnosed with ADHD would improve if they slept better.
• A child diagnosed with ADHD will exhibit sympoms that mimic the very natural consequences of unmet physiologic needs like quality sleep.
• Usually enlarged tonsils and or adenoids are causing the child to snore or breathe abnormally.
• Children should not snore.
• There is significant evidence that sleep-related breathing disorders are associated with cognitive and behavioral impairment in children.
• Approximately 11% of children 4 to 17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD last year, and have spent 7.2 billion dollars in medications.
• The airway in children who have moderate or severe OSA is so compromised that the body is in a continued “fight or flight mode” as the brain struggles for oxygen.
• If left untreated, sleep apnea in children can lead to learning, behavior, growth, and heart problems.
What to do:
• Have your child examined by a dentist or physician to have the airway evaluated.
• A tonsillectomy may be recommended.
• Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to broaden the dental arches.
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