In recent years, the medical community has seen an increase in the number of kids suffering from obesity and related conditions, such as high blood pressure. While factors like poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to high blood pressure, the effect of sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) aren't often considered in kids.

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In adults, researchers are well aware of the cardiovascular effects of untreated OSA. In 2012, a study by the American Family Physicians monitored kids who had already been diagnosed with OSA as well as kids who had non-disordered sleep patterns, and found that kids with OSA also had elevated blood pressure. When OSA was successfully treated, blood pressure decreased to healthy levels.


Parents should carefully watch their children for signs of obstructive sleep apnea, especially if they: 

•    Are currently suffering from obesity
•    Are epileptic and require two or more medications to control their seizures
•    Have been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, ADHD, or autism

All of which may increase the risk of having sleep disorders such as OSA. 

Signs of OSA in kids include: 

•    Night sweats
•    Pauses in breathing during sleep
•    Regular daytime tiredness, no matter how many hours a child spends in bed
•    Difficulty waking at their usual time, regardless of bedtime
•    Bedwetting that occurs after at least six months of nighttime dryness.


Obstructive sleep apnea in kids is generally treated by the removal of adenoids and tonsils. In some cases, kids are also treated with CPAP, depending on their conditions and the safety of surgery. Once kids are getting a good night of sleep, many parents see an improvement in behavior, improvement in sports performance, and an improvement in symptoms of autism, ADHD, or other conditions that affect focus and attention. 


If your child has high blood pressure along with any other signs of obstructive sleep apnea, having them evaluated for a sleep disorder by a pediatric sleep specialist is the first step towards a path of sleep and health throughout their lives. Call our sleep clinic today to schedule a complete sleep evaluation.