Sleep apnea in teenagers has been linked to behavioral and social problems, according to a recent study‘ by the University of Arizona. In addition to these particular problems, kids who suffered from the disorder are at a much higher risk of developing issues with anger management, concentration, learning, and hyperactivity. If they are left untreated, these individuals may lose the ability to properly care for themselves as they reach adulthood.
MedicineNet reports that the study followed 263 children for a period of five years. During that time, researchers discovered that children with sleep apnea were two and three times more likely to develop behavioral problems than teens who didn’t have the disorder. However, although sleep apnea has been linked to these issues, researchers stress that it does not directly cause the aforementioned problems.
“If left untreated, [obstructive sleep apnea] negatively impacts a youth’s ability to regulate their behaviors, emotions and social interactions,” study lead author Michelle Perfec explained. “These behaviors can interfere with their ability to care for themselves and engage in socially appropriate behaviors — skills that are needed to be successful in school.”
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the airway become obstructed during slumber. Symptoms include snoring, dry mouth, morning headache, and waking up suddenly during the night with a shortness of breath. Although snoring itself is not necessarily a sign of sleep apnea, a problem may exist if these bouts of snoring are punctuated by periods of silence.