Sleep Apnea Among Obese Worsens With Age

Sleep apnea among obese adolescents is serious, and the latest research indicates that it gets worse as the teens age. This video reveals a possibly reason why.

Recent research shows that obese adolescents run a risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, and the older the adolescent is, the more severe the symptoms may be.

Researchers examined data from 234 children between the ages of 2 and 18. All of the children were obese and were already suspected to have sleep-related breathing problems. The doctors separated the children by age groups and then assessed them during an overnight sleep study.

Doctors were surprised to find that more of the older children demonstrated sleep apnea symptoms than the younger children. One possible reason why older obese children suffer from sleep apnea to a greater degree is that they have larger tonsils.

Sleep apnea occurs when soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway when a person is asleep. This makes it hard for the person to breathe. Researchers speculate that the larger tonsils of the older children may interact with their extra mass to cause serious breathing problems while they sleep.

But, they say, adolescents with snoring problems who are obese should be referred to a physician, regardless of their tonsil size.

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