WESTCHESTER , Ill. — Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has symptoms that appear to be common among adolescents, which can lead to both short- and long-term adverse problems if left untreated, including excessive daytime sleepiness, poor academic performance and ADHD, according to a study published in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
Eric O. Johnson, Ph.D., of Research Triangle Institute International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., studied 1,014 adolescents between 13 and 16 years of age and a paired parent. The study concluded that more than 20 percent of the adolescents snored at least a few nights per month and 6 percent snored every or nearly every night. Furthermore, apnea-like symptoms affected from 2.5 percent to 6.1 percent of adolescents. The prevalence of weekly SDB was 6 percent, according to both the adolescent and parental report, and was twice as likely among African-Americans as Caucasians.
“This estimated prevalence of SDB is a somewhat higher than recent SDB estimates from population-based studies of children using traditional polysomnography clinical thresholds and about the same as those found in adults in Western countries, suggesting that this self-report measure, while lacking the validity of polysomnography, is not an unrealistic one for adolescents,” wrote Johnson.
SDB is a group of disorders characterized by abnormalities of pauses in breathing or the quantity of ventilation during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep, and occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, keeping air from getting into the lungs, is the most common such disorder. OSA, although more common in men and women of any age, may be diagnosed in those children with large tonsils.
Another common sleep-related breathing disorder is snoring, a symptom of increased upper airway resistance during sleep, which is primarily found in both men and women, but can also be found in 10 to 12 percent of children and adolescents.
SOURCE: SLEE, the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society