Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ADHD and Sleep Apnea in Children

In recent days, medical researchers put their great deal of understanding towards the relation between ADHD and sleep apnea among children. Sleep disorders are quite prevalent among individuals with ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the researchers raise question about understanding the relation between sleep apnea and ADHD as the former is integrally secondary component of ADHD or it is simply another root of ADHD. The research concerning sleep disorders including sleep apnea is still in its infancy, especially when the perspective covers the area of ADHD and sleep apnea in children.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can be subdivided under three broad categories – central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and mixed. The term 'apnea' came from Greek word which means 'without breath'. If left untreated, individuals with sleep apnea of any of these three types experience a recurrent cessation in breathing during their sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to an obstruction of the air-passage, typically in the rear area of the throat. In central sleep apnea, brain sends improper signaling to the breathing muscles. The mixed one, as its name implies, occurs as the result of the combination of the two.

About ADHD

ADHD is an abbreviated form of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. During their early school years, many children around the world are diagnosed with this neurocognitive condition. The major symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, a thorough investigation is always needed before confirming the occurrence of ADHD in a child as many children may show these symptoms normally without being affected by ADHD or as a result of other disorders. In fact, different scientific studies have documented that some children may even be misdiagnosed with ADHD while they are suffering from sleep deprivation actually.

The Big Question

The researchers put a big question forward for investigation whether obstructive sleep apnea as linked with snoring can cause ADHD and learning disabilities. The snoring sound is developed during sleep as the throat muscles relax. If an individual suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, he develops a pause of breathing in between the snoring. This eventually declines the rate of oxygenation in the brain, while disrupting the sleep cycle. In children, findings show the occurrence of both obstructive sleep apnea and ADHD along with other neurocognitive deficits such as impairments in verbal and spatial understanding, psychomotor efficacy, attention, etc.

Although the studies confirmed that there is a strong correlation between sleep apnea and ADHD in the sense that a majority of ADHD children suffer from sleep apnea or other forms of sleep deprivation, it is not yet confirmed whether sleep apnea may lead to the development of ADHD for certain. But in many cases, children having both sleep apnea and ADHD show radical improvement in the symptoms of ADHD after they are successfully treated for their sleep problem.

No comments:

Subscribe Now: standard