Researchers say that children with obstructive sleep apnea have almost three times the risk of developing high blood pressure during adolescence than their peers.
However, scientists funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute —— Part of the National Institutes of Health —— It was also found that when sleep apnea improves, the likelihood of children suffering from high blood pressure or high blood pressure during adolescence does not increase.
They say their findings emphasize the need for early treatment of sleep apnea to prevent future cardiovascular disease.
sleep apnea It is a disease in which a person experiences irregular breathing patterns during sleep until their breathing actually starts and stops throughout the night.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by improper throat muscle relaxation. This is a disease primarily diagnosed in adults, but studies have shown that about 10% of school-age children also suffer from this disease.
Some of these children will get rid of the disease, while others will develop chronic problems. The reason behind this is not fully understood.
Lead research author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, associate professor of the Sleep Research and Therapy Center at the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, Say Although previous studies have linked sleep apnea to increased risk of hypertension and heart disease in adults, there is a lack of data on the long-term health effects of this disease on children’s growth into adolescents.
Fernandez-Mendoza said: “Our research shows that pediatric sleep apnea can serve as a gateway to future hypertension.” “Because most cases of sleep apnea are not diagnosed in adults and children, this issue requires more attention. Sleep apnea and its risk factors should be screened, monitored and targeted early in life to prevent future cardiovascular diseases.”
The study included 421 children between the ages of 5 and 12, 12% of whom were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea after being monitored overnight in a sleep laboratory. The researchers also measured their blood pressure levels.
Eight years later, the researchers reassessed whether the teenagers now suffer from sleep apnea and high blood pressure. The average age of the participants is now 16 years old.
The most common type of hypertension diagnosed in adolescents with sleep apnea is orthostatic hypertension, which occurs when a person stands up quickly after being in a prone position. Researchers say this type of hypertension is an important risk factor for heart disease in adulthood.
However, they pointed out that the biological mechanism that causes this link between sleep apnea in children and adolescent hypertension remains unclear.
Studies have shown that obesity, increased inflammation, Oxidative stress And impaired heart function may have played a role in promoting. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which increases your vulnerability to infection.
Sleep apnea in children A continuous positive airway pressure ventilator can be used for treatment at night. The CPAP machine delivers air through the mask to help keep the airway open. Sometimes surgical removal of tonsils and adenoids can also help.
Researchers say that obese children may also benefit from healthy changes in diet and exercise habits. If you are concerned that your child may have sleep apnea, please discuss with their pediatrician for evaluation.
The research is published online in the journal American Medical Association Cardiology.