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Sleep Disorders

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

01/20/2011

Question:

Up until I was 13 years old, I had obstructive sleep apnea. I had enlarged adenoids and tonsils. I had them both surgically removed, six years ago. When I first had them removed I didn`t notice a difference right away. I had developed a coping mechanism of going off into a daze or daydreaming I guess. I had no control of when it would happen. After the surgery I would still do this, and I got addoral to help me concentrate a year or two after. The addoral helped a little but didn`t completely stop and it made my heart beat fast and I would get jittery. I stopped using it after a year. Its been 6 years since the surgery and 2 since I stopped using addoral. I still have trouble focusing and daydreaming. I was wondering if you have heard of anyone else that has these problems? Also I was wondering if there is some kind of treatment that could help. That doesn`t use medicine?

Answer:

An issue that needs to be addressed in discussing your problem is whether you continue to have obstructive sleep apnea. While adenotonsillectomy is the usual therapy for children, it may not be curative, especially if you are overweight. In trying to diagnose your problem, additional history is important:

#1 What time do you go to bed at night, and what time do you wake up in the morning. Do you awaken frequently during the night? Do you take naps during the daytime? Do you feel excessively sleepy during the daytime?

#2 Are you still snoring and, if so, is it loud? Do you awaken with headaches or dry mouth in the morning?

#3 Are your symptoms better on weekends, vacations or during summertime when you’re not attending school?

#4 Do you have bothersome sensations in your legs at rest before bed at night?

Inability to focus and daydreaming may be due to a number of problems, including some sleep-related disorders, such as inadequate sleep, untreated sleep apnea, or narcolepsy, to name a few. On the other hand, these symptoms may not be related to sleep at all and could be due to other problems like ADHD. I would suggest reviewing your symptoms with your pediatrician or family practice physician, who after a careful physical examination should be able to offer you advice or direct you for further help if needed.

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Response by:

Mark   Splaingard, MD Mark Splaingard, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University