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Sleep apnea is a severe medical condition that affects the amount of oxygen breathed during the night. Beyond loud snoring, it can also make you sleepy, disorganized, and cause problems in your relationships.
If you or a loved one suffers from these symptoms, please contact our office at (603) 237-1124 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephen Ura. He’s a trusted sleep dentist who will make sure you get the correct diagnosis and treatment for your unique situation.
The Threat of Misdiagnosing Sleep Apnea
It’s estimated that 36 million Americans — kids and adults — have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and of those people, between one half and three fourths also suffer from a sleep disorder.
A sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea exacerbates the symptoms of ADHD and can cause further problems if left untreated. While the connection between the two conditions isn’t straightforward, the easiest way to ensure you get the correct diagnosis is by completing a sleep study.
Symptoms Shared by Sleep Apnea & ADHD
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of ADHD include:
- Disorganization and problems prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
Unfortunately, the symptoms of sleep apnea are very similar, and this is part of the reason why some doctors initially misdiagnose the two conditions.
Get a Peace of Mind, Complete a Sleep Study Today
One way OSA occurs is when the muscles in the back of your relax while you’re sleeping and block your airway, causing breathing to stop. These episodes can happen from anywhere between 5 to 35 times a night, sacrificing energy and essential sleep each time.
In 2013, researchers conducted a study that followed a young, healthy man who was struggling with ADHD symptoms. He was diagnosed with ADHD and given medication, but six months later, he still saw symptoms.
Upon returning to his doctor and completing a sleep study, they found that he had sleep apnea instead. With this new information, he was treated appropriately, and his symptoms subsided.
Treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy
An oral appliance is a comfortable, convenient alternative to CPAP. This treatment for sleep apnea comes in the form of a mouthguard-like apparatus that works by positioning the lower jaw forward, which keeps the airway open.
It’s not uncommon for a patient to suffer from both sleep apnea and ADHD. In these situations, one condition may irritate the other, creating more aggressive symptoms.
If you or a loved one is experiencing anything we talk about above, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Alternatively, you can fill out the submission form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.