A new long-term study shows that children with obstructive sleep apnea who do not get over it in adolescence have almost three times the risk of high blood pressure than teenagers compared to those who do not have respiratory problems.
But sleeping children apnea disappears in adolescence and has no increased risk, according to the study.
Obstructive sleep apnea, when breathing during sleep, and blood pressure problems have been related before. But few researchers had thoroughly analyzed the problem in long-term children, said the study’s lead author, Julio Fernandez-Mendoza. He is an associate professor at the Center for Sleep Research and Treatment at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The findings, which are considered preliminary until published in an expert-reviewed journal, were unveiled Friday as part of the American Heart Association’s virtual conference on Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health. There are three types of sleep apnea, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, that are most common with obstructive sleep apnea (caused by airway blockage). The academy estimates that sleep apnea affects nearly 30 million adults, with most cases undiagnosed.
But it also affects many children.
The new study examined 421 children, ages 5 to 12, who were monitored overnight in a sleep lab. Of these children, approximately 12% had at least mild obstructive sleep apnea.
After more than seven years of follow-up, when most children were between 12 and 19 years old, sleep apnea had disappeared in just over half of them. Children often overcome the problem, Fernandez-Mendoza said.
After adjusting for factors such as gender, race / ethnicity, age, obesity levels, and whether children removed tonsils or adenoids, the researchers found that children with apnea persistent sleep in adolescence were more likely to have high blood pressure 2.9 times higher than children who never had the problem. If sleep apnea began in their teens, they were 1.7 times more likely to have high blood pressure.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by problems such as enlarged amygdala or adenoids in some children, but obesity is a critical factor, Fernandez-Mendoza said.
Dr. Carissa M. Baker-Smith, director of the Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Program at Nemours / Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, described the study as “significant” for its long-term approach. He said the research also highlights the importance of considering a child’s sleep quality as a risk factor for high blood pressure in children.
“What he’s saying is one of the reasons kids have high blood pressure because they have them obstructive sleep apnea – Even after controlling for other known risk factors, such as obesity, ”said Baker-Smith, who did not participate in the study.
Sleep, high blood pressure and obesity are factors related to heart disease, he said. In a young person, these factors become more advanced precursors of heart disease in adulthood if left untreated.
Because high blood pressure can cause serious harm, attention to a child’s sleep quality is important and the diagnosis of apnea should not be ignored, Baker-Smith said.
However, not all snoring children have sleep apnea, Fernandez-Mendoza said. But loud snores (snores that are heard through the bedroom door) are the most common indicator. Others include irritability or excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sometimes it is necessary to remove the tonsils or adenoids from the child. But he often said treatments include carefully structured weight loss as well as various types of positive airways. pressure therapy that provides airflow through a mask to keep the airways open.
Fernandez-Mendoza’s advice to parents is not to assume that snoring in a child is beautiful or that their overweight is normal. “Take it seriously, check with your pediatrician” and potentially get the child evaluated with a sleep study.
Pediatricians, he said, need to be mindful sleep apnea with the systemic problem.
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Citation: Children with sleep apnea until adolescence could develop high blood pressure (2021, May 21) recovered on May 21, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-kids-apnea- teen-years-high.html
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