How Serious is Childhood Sleep Apnea?
Untreated sleep apnea in children can later inflict severe damage on their overall health. Sleep is important during the early stages of development as it’s a time when the brain is beginning to fully establish itself. With chronically fragmented sleep caused by sleep apnea, the brain sustains an injury that accumulates through the repeated disruption of oxygen delivery. As a result, the “executive function” of the brain becomes impaired leading to reduced cognitive flexibility and emotional regulation, which manifest in the form of learning, adaptive, and behavioral problems. As a matter of fact, recent studies have shown that 25% of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In addition, there is enough medical evidence to substantiate association between childhood obesity and pediatric sleep disorders, which can later pave the way for serious cardiovascular problems if left unmanaged.