Chicago, March 3 (Reuters) - Some hyperactive children thought to be suffering from attention deficit disorder may just be overtired because they are bad sleepers or heavy snorers, researchers said on Monday.
“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 five to seven-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 five per cent of American children, a majority of them boys, are believed to be affected by ADHD, which is characterised by inattention, impulsiveness and overactive behaviour.
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.