Childhood Sleep Apnea or ADHD

A recent study has shown children who suffer from sleep disorders are more likely to exhibit similar symptoms as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, ADHD. This claim stems from a British study of 11,000 children from age six months until age six which found the children who experienced interrupted sleep from snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, were 40-100% more likely to also exhibit ADHD like symptoms in comparison to the children who breathed well at night. If your child has sleep disordered breathing he may be suffering from a form of sleep apnea. During times of sleep apnea your child’s airway is blocked and the child cannot take in a breath of oxygen. The brain realizes that there is low oxygen in the body and will cause the child to wake from sleep. Two things result from this: a cranky child who did not enjoy benefits of true physiologic restful sleep and a poor sick child who suffered periods of oxygen deprivation during sleep.

These two things can make your child exhibit ADHD like symptoms when in reality the child does not really have ADHD but sleep disordered breathing. ADHD does exist, no one is debating that fact here, but determining the cause of the ADHD like symptoms is important before a treatment plan is in place, especially when involving medications.The Center for Disease Control, CDC, reports that from 2003-2007 cases of diagnosed ADHD rose about 22%. Does this statistic mean we are facing an epidemic or are some children being misdiagnosed? One issue with treating ADHD symptoms is that the medications can cause insomnia and could lead to further sleep disorders in children. Lack of sleep has a huge impact on the development of children and impacts them differently than adults. Instead of feeling sluggish and tired like sleep deprived adults, children are more likely to exhibit behaviors such as being wired, having mood swings, difficulty sitting still, focusing, or getting along with others. Unfortunately, some parents are not aware that the symptoms their child is experiencing are related to a sleep disorder and getting the child to experience the proper amount of good quality sleep is a challenge. If your child exhibits symptoms of ADHD, consider having a professional explore your child’s sleep.

If your child has sleep disordered breathing or sleep apnea, aligning yourself and your child with a properly trained dentist would be a good first step. The dentist will provide you with options to restore your child’s health. The dentist will recommend a sleep study, an evaluation of your child’s airway by an ENT and may even custom make dental appliances that fit in your child’s mouth while he sleeps to protect your child from suffering the harmful effects of sleep apnea. Find comfort in knowing that there are more options than just medications or those noisy, cumbersome machines to treat your child’s sleep apnea and prevent its harmful effects. The dentist’s treatment will help properly align your child’s jaw and relax your child’s muscles of the face, neck, shoulders and back. Properly aligning the jaw and relaxing muscles that would otherwise remain tense, can help open the airway so your child can breathe better, thus, reducing or eliminating your child’s sleep apnea symptoms. If your child is experiencing symptoms similar to ADHD, consider a sleep study be conducted to determine if sleep apnea could be causing your child’s behavior.

Please contact our Miami cosmetic dentists today to schedule your initial appointment.Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in the Miami and Coral Gables, Florida area.