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Is your child hyperactive or just tired?

Posted July 15, 2009

"To the parent, the message is if you have a kid who is hyperactive and snores, think about the possibility that the two may be connected," study author David Gozal of the University of Louisville said. In his study published in the journal Pediatrics, Gozal found roughly one-quarter of 5- to 7-year-old children with mild symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also snored. In some cases, the breathing problems reached the level of sleep apnea, where breathing is blocked repeatedly through the night and sleep is disturbed. "Over the years, we have observed many of those cases who came off their ADHD medications once they were treated for their sleep apnea," Gozal said. As many as 5 percent of American children, a majority of them boys, are believed to be affected by ADHD, which is characterized by inattention, impulsiveness and overactive behavior. Gozal said some candidates for the disorder are prescribed drugs without a very thorough evaluation as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the pediatricians' group that publishes the journal. "Pediatricians and parents should be aware that in a proportion of these kids, their hyperactive symptoms may be due to the presence of snoring and sleep apnea. Therefore, in this subset of 'hyperactive' children who have sleep apnea, treatment of the sleep apnea should lead to marked improvement if not complete disappearance of their hyperactivity symptoms," Gozal said.