Children with obstructive sleep apnea who receive an effective treatment not only experience deeper shuteye but also show less attention and behavior problems.
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep.
The condition which in children is often caused by an obstruction in the airway due to oversized tonsils or adenoids leads to day time drowsiness, lack of attention and behavioral problems such as aggression.
If remained untreated for a long term, sleep apnea may increase the risk of serious health problems like cardiovascular problems and diabetes later in life.
A study of 52 children with severe obstructive sleep apnea showed that treatment boosted the quality of life and behavior. About 70 percent of the studied children were obese while 10 percent had neurodevelopment disabilities.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used positive airway pressure or CPAP which keeps the airways open during sleep as the standard treatment for the participants.
After three months, the kids including those with developmental disorders had better sleep, quality of life, behavior and lower symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says the report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
“The main message is that treatment, although it may be difficult to tolerate, can result in a significant improvement in childhood behavior symptoms and quality of life,” said lead author Carole L. Marcus.
Although the children couldn’t tolerate CPAP’s mask for a long time and on average used the device only three hours each night, notable benefits were seen in those who used the mask.