Kids with Sleep Apnea More Likely to Develop Behavioral Problems

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Credit: Sleeping child photo via Shutterstock

Kids with Sleep Apnea More Likely to Develop Behavioral Problems

Kids whoِ snore orِ haveِ sleep apnea — long pauses inِ breathing duringِ their sleep — areِ more likelyِ to develop behavioral problems thanِ kids whoِ breathe normallyِ while asleep, a newِ study suggests.
After followingِ more thanِ 11,000 children forِ six years, researchers foundِ that kids withِ breathing problems duringِ sleep wereِ atِ least 40 percent moreِ likelyِ to develop behavioral problems, suchِ asِ hyperactivity andِ aggression, byِ age 7.
Breathing problems thatِ canِ occur duringِ sleep include frequent snoring, open-mouthed breathing andِ sleep apnea.

The study was published today (March 5) in the journal Pediatrics.

Sleep-disordered breathing can start early

About 1 inِ 10 children snore regularly, andِ 2 toِ 4 percent haveِ sleep apnea, according toِ theِ American Academy ofِ Otolaryngology-Head andِ Neck Surgery.
The breathing problems areِ most common inِ children betweenِ 2 andِ 6 years old, butِ can alsoِ occur inِ younger children.
Common causesِ of theِ breathing problems areِ enlarged tonsils andِ adenoids, whichِ areِ found inِ the upper part ofِ the throat.

An increased risk of behavior problems

Bonuck andِ colleagues analyzed 11,000 children enrolled inِ a United Kingdom study.
They compared 5,000 normal breathing children withِ aboutِ 6,000 children whoِ hadِ breathing problems duringِ their sleep.
Parents wereِ asked toِ fill outِ questionnaires aboutِ their children’s sleeping patterns fromِ the time theِ children wereِ 6 months oldِ until theyِ were almost 6 years old.