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Dr. Sara Scheid on YNN: Sleep apnea and ADD/ADHD

April 1, 2013

WATCH: Child Wellness Wednesday

By: Marcie Fraser

Recent reports indicate that nearly seven to nine percent of adolescents have some form of ADHD or ADD. The causes vary.

No direct correlation has been linked to either ADD and ADHD, but the strongest link seems to be genetics, other causes may be environmental and diet related, but according to Pediatric Sleep expert Dr. Sara Scheid, 25 percent of children have it because of obstructive sleep apnea.

Scheid said, “Because they are stopping breathing at night so with that poor quality of sleep they are more hyperactive during the day as opposed to being tired as an adult would be.”

Enlarged tonsils or adenoids cause an obstruction to the airway interrupting their ability to sleep well.

Scheid said, “Their oxygen levels at night are dropping so they are having poor cognitive development, and we are seeing lots of behavioral issues.”

Fatigue can cause a child to become hyperactive. Other signs your child may have sleep apnea include snoring plus, “Bed wetting. Behavior problems. They are getting reprimanded at school and have hard time controlling their emotions and feelings,” said Scheid.

Some parents actually witness their child stop breathing altogether. Keep an eye on their position while they sleep.

“You go to look at them at night, they’re kind of propped up and their head is back. They are trying to get into a position so they don’t obstruct. But they’re trying to naturally get into a position where they can get air,” said Scheid.

Surgery is an option, which is tonsillectomy or removing the adenoids.

After the surgery, many of the kids are sleeping better and their symptoms have disappeared.

Scheid said, “Only a small percentage of children will need further therapy after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. What I mean by that is some children need continuous positive airway pressure or bypap to control their apnea after surgery.”

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