Treating sleep disorders is crucial to child-development, doctors say | KOB 4
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Treating sleep disorders is crucial to child-development, doctors say

Emily Jaceks
July 20, 2018 08:51 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - They're sounds that at some point have likely caused a fight between you and your spouse. But sadly, doctors say snoring and choking are now heard in children and more kids are coming into the Sandoval Regional Medical Center's Sleep Center to be tested and treated for sleep disorders.

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“A very common age range is the elementary school age,” Dr. Lisa Cutchen, a sleep specialist said.

Problems can range from night terrors to insomnia, to something more dangerous like obstructive sleep apnea. Doctors say while adults with this condition tend to be sleepy, children with sleep apnea tend to be hyperactive.

“Instead, what we see are kids who are so sleepy, they are just fighting to stay awake during the day stimulating themselves in whatever way they can,” Dr. Cutchen said.

She said recognizing these signs and symptoms early on is crucial to a child's development.

“For kids, growth hormone is released during sleep, so kids who aren't getting enough sleep at night may not be growing as well as they otherwise would,” Dr. Cutchen said.

A sleep study can help determine if there's a real problem.

“So with a sleep study, a lot of wires are applied. We're monitoring oxygen and breathing and brain waves, and carbon dioxide while they’re asleep,” Dr. Cutchen said.

When oxygen drops, the brain wakes up, and the brain is unhappy. Doctors say if that's found they can intervene, and in some cases, a simple surgery, like a tonsillectomy, could resolve the problems. In other cases, a c-pap machine helps until the child grows out of their symptoms.

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Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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