HealthDay News — The impact of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on cardiovascular health in children and adolescents is addressed in a scientific statement published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Carissa M Baker-Smith, MD, MPH, from the Nemours-Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and colleagues note that OSA is common among children, with OSA identified in about 1% to nearly 6% of all children and adolescents. The clinical presentation can vary by age and includes symptoms and signs of upper-airway obstruction. Risk factors contributing to OSA in children include obesity, upper- and lower-airway disease, hypotonia, parental history of adenotonsillar hyperplasia, craniofacial malformations, neuromuscular disorders, and allergic rhinitis. Obesity is the main risk factor for OSA in childhood, and families and health care professionals should be counseled regarding this association. Inadequate sleep duration has been linked to an increased risk for hypertension. In addition, mild degrees of OSA have been associated with unfavorable changes in cardiometabolic health. Treatment options for OSA in children include behavioral, medical, and surgical interventions.

“Sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea have the potential to raise blood pressure and are linked with insulin resistance and abnormal lipids, all of which may adversely impact overall cardiovascular health later in life,” Baker-Smith said in a statement.


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One author is a coinventor of ultrasound-based imaging of sleep apnea and has received patent royalties from the University of Maryland; one of the reviewers disclosed financial ties to Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

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