News and Articles

Educate yourself, gain insights and stay informed about industry news and innovations related to living with a sleep disorder.

Sleep Apnea Is A Children’s Disease !!

There is a surprising incidence of obstructive sleep apnea in children with between 2% and 6% of all children having it. And, that number may be growing as the incidence of childhood obesity grows. Why is this a big deal? Because poor sleep impacts childhood growth and development. Some years ago Dr. David Gozal studied a population of elementary school children for sleep apnea. He identified about 5% with sleep apnea. Almost all were in the lower 10% in their class in terms of learning and behavior. About half had surgery to remove their adenoids and tonsils, a major factor in childhood sleep apnea. Of those who had surgery almost all improved school performance and had increased growth where those who declined to have surgery had no improvement.

More recently a 5 year study of children between 6 and 11 years old was completed. Some of the findings included:

  • 263 kids had overnight sleep studies
  • 43 either had or developed sleep apnea
  • Another 41 had apnea initially but it resolved spontaneously
  • The children with persistent apnea were 6 times more likely to have behavioral problems with parents reporting hyperactivity, attention disruptive behaviors, communication and social competency problems.
  • They were 7 times more likely to have learning problems and 3 times more likely to have low grades.
  • The authors of the study from the University of Arizona in Tucson recommended that sleep issues be considered by school personnel when dealing with all these behaviors.

This recommendation is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics who came out with their second set of guidelines regarding sleep apnea in children pointing out again that there is no such thing as normal snoring in children (and I believe in adults as well) and that every child with snoring should be evaluated, at least clinically if not with a full sleep study, for possible sleep apnea. While some sleep apnea resolves on its own as children grow, the risk is high because of the potential effect on childhood development.

So if your child snores, don’t ignore it. Bring it up with their pediatrician and don’t settle for them being dismissive of the possible importance.

Jerrold Alan Kram, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM Medical DirectorDr Kram is one of the country’s most experienced sleep specialists. He began his work in the field in 1980, opened the California Center for Sleep Disorders (CCSD) in 1983 and received his Board Certification in Sleep Medicine in 1989. He graduated with honors from the New York University School of Medicine and completed his pulmonary fellowship at University of California, San Francisco.Dr. Kram brings an inclusive philosophy to the practice of Sleep Medicine and his running of CCSD. He is actively engaged in programs to spread sleep expertise throughout the local medical community and is a featured speaker in professional and community lectures nationwide. Most recently he has been named to the board of directors at the National Sleep Foundation.

Comments (1)

  1. I like this site, I’m looking for information about idiopathic hypersomnia and any recent post. A lot of the old ones I have read have a lot of the same symptoms that I do. It does help some to know that I’m not the only one with this condition. I have had it all my life, I was called sleeping beauty when I was in grade school cause I could not stay awake on the bus. If you put me in a car I would be sleeping within minutes, I loved car rides. when I was about 3 or 4 I remember my grandmother coming in at 3pm and asking if I was going to sleep all day, I think my favorite thing to do is sleeping. to me if any type of gathering or appointment is before 2 or 3 pm it is early. I have had many times thru out my life (as I am sure most people have) that were very hectic and I was sleep deprived at times. Any time I would complain to my doctors (several over the years) about being so tired it was dismissed or I was given med for depression. I had a problem getting up in the morning, had to have my mother call me, I had several different alarm clocks going off. I can’t say I’m not a morning person, I am not a person that can get up easily, no matter how much I sleep. It is easier for me to stay up longer if I need to have something done for the next day, than to tell myself I will get up and do it before I go. I will sleep until the very last minute. I think I had it down to 20 minutes to get ready for work. (teeth, shower, dress, hair- no makeup mascara only) no food, I would eat junk food cause then I was starving. towards the end (when I finally found a doctor to listen to me and run more test) I was 50 things were getting bad, driving the car or almost wrecking the car, being late for work, having a hard time staying awake at work, doing my work. caffeine was no longer enough and I could not blame sleep deprivation, I was getting enough sleep so what is the problem. I could relate to the person that said if they had a appointment or party that would be all they could do that day, I understand that very well, and the next day I would be out. I remember taking my kids to their school picnic at Kennywood I would have to take two vacation days, the day of the picnic and the next day, because there was no way I could get up the next morning. Right now I take Adderall, I have some days that are good and I get my hopes up that maybe, things are better and I can get my house in order. no luck, I have good short days but more sleep most of the day days. I am still thankful, there are a lot of people with medical conditions a lot worse than mine. but I do get down and am embarrassed because other than my family I don’t tell anyone that I have a sleep disorder. coz I don’t thing some of my family even believe there is such a thing. oh well, life is still good. at least I don’t feel like I am crazy anymore. (I am crazy- but not for thinking I am so sleepy) also we went on vacation with my niece and her husband a few years ago and everyone was going out for the day, I said I was staying in, everytime they came back to the hotel I was sleeping. I think that is when she finally understood, I don’t lay around and watch tv I sleep, dead sleep. luv ya all, tell your stories I think it helps to share and not feel so alone. take care

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest