Getting the Right Care for Your Family
Sleep apnea is a serious medical issue that dramatically reduces the patient’s blood oxygen level. This happens because the patient stops breathing several times during sleep each night due to an obstruction that prevents air from getting through the airway.
Many sleep apnea symptoms are similar to symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). This can make it difficult for physicians to determine if a patient is suffering from ADHD or sleep apnea.
In fact, the American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that “as many as 25 percent of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may actually have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.” That means over one million children with sleep apnea could be getting the wrong treatment because they’ve been misdiagnosed as having ADHD.
According to Science Daily, ADHD is “a group of behavioral symptoms with a neurobiological background, that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, mood swings and impulsiveness.” We generally associate ADHD with children, but adults suffer from this condition as well.
Children are often referred to a doctor for an ADHD diagnosis as a result of behaviors that become apparent at school. These behaviors include excessive talking in class, the inability to sit still, a lack of patience, disorganization, and difficulty paying attention in class. Unfortunately, these symptoms have a lot in common with the effects of sleep apnea on children.
That’s why “it’s not hard to see how misdiagnosis is possible,” particularly “when we consider the lack of regular screening that exists for sleep problems.”
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Further confusing issues, there’s a considerable number of patients who suffer from both ADHD and disordered sleep. It’s been estimated that “around 75 percent of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have sleep problems.” This can make it even more difficult to determine whether a child is suffering from sleep apnea, ADHD, or both.
Many physicians have limited training when it comes to treating sleep apnea. That’s another factor that often makes it harder for a patient to get the correct diagnosis. Researchers have discovered that “fewer than 1 in 5 pediatricians surveyed had received any training in sleep disorders, and fewer than 1 in 6 felt confident about their ability to offer guidance to parents about children’s sleep.”
The Right Care for You
Dr. Sheila Birth is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and she has extensive experience treating sleep apnea. She’ll make sure you or your loved one gets the right diagnosis and the treatment that’s best for you. Call today to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sleep apnea mimic ADHD?
Our sleep dentists can guide you through the diagnosis and treatment process and ensure you receive effective and comfortable treatment. Discuss your symptoms with Dr. Birth to find out the best treatment option for you.
Does sleep apnea cause ADHD?
Our expert dentists recommend undergoing a sleep study if you’re experiencing signs of both sleep apnea and ADHD. We can rule out any sleep-related symptoms to target the cause of your attention-related symptoms, relieve your symptoms, and help you achieve the restful sleep you deserve.