Can Sleep Apnea Be Misdiagnosed as ADHD?
When a child seems restless, lacking in energy or concentration, or has behavior issues, oftentimes a trip to the pediatrician may result in a diagnosis of attention-deficit hypertension disorder (ADHD).
However, ADHD is often diagnosed when the child’s sleep patterns should be examined instead. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can affect both adults and children by disrupting their sleep throughout the night and causing chronic fatigue, lack of energy, and irritability.
In fact, nearly 25 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually suffering from sleep apnea.
There are sleep pediatricians and sleep dentists, like Dr. Sheila Birth in Fort Worth, TX, who can help your child get the sleep they need to grow strong and healthy.
A child might not be able to communicate that they’re acting out because they’re tired. It’s up to their parents to make sure they’re getting the sleep they need.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Children?
Sleep apnea affects between one and four percent of children between the ages of two and eight years old.
For adults, sleep apnea is often caused by being overweight or excessive drinking habits. However, children can experience sleep apnea by having enlarged tonsils and adenoids, the muscles that surround the airway.
Here are some signs that your child might have sleep apnea:
- Snoring or pauses in their breath while sleeping
- Snorting or gasping during sleep
- Heavy breathing
- Behavioral issues
- Wetting the bed
- Daytime sleepiness
If you notice your child experiencing these symptoms, call a pediatrician and let them know. Taking a sleep test might save your child from a misdiagnosis of ADHD, unnecessary medication, and years of restless sleep.
Sleep Tests: The First Step To Treating Sleep Apnea
During a sleep test, the physician will monitor your child’s brain wave activity, breathing patterns, snoring, oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity with special sensors.
If the physician diagnoses your child with sleep apnea, it’s time to seek treatment from a sleep dentist like Dr. Regina Dailey in Ann Arbor, MI. They can suggest treatments that are designed to be comfortable and non-intimidating, like custom oral appliances or snore guards, so that your child can sleep comfortably.
In some cases, a child’s enlarged tonsils will be the cause of their sleep apnea. Minor surgery may be suggested to remove the tonsils so they don’t block your child’s airway.
Healthy Sleep, Healthy Life
Children deserve to enjoy every day with energy, happiness and at the end of it all, sweet dreams and a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Bernard Ang in Amherst, NH has treated many patients with sleep apnea, both children and adults. Finding someone you can trust to give your child the best care possible is essential, and it’s always worth it to get a second opinion.