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AASM encourages those student-athletes at risk for developing osa to visit a sleep clinic
Date:8/24/2007

WESTCHESTER, Ill. For most children and teens, the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner. Not only will they be hitting the books again after a three-month-long summer break, but many of them will also participate in after-school activities. More research is emerging that sheds light on a serious problem affecting student-athletes nationwide: the number of children and teens who are considered obese is rising dramatically. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), obesity raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems, and also increases the likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

William Kohler, MD, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, director of pediatric sleep services at University Community Hospital in Tampa, and an AASM pediatric sleep expert, warns that the health problems brought on by obesity, such as OSA, should serve as a wake-up call to not only student-athletes and their parents, but also to their instructors and coaching staff.

OSA can increase the risk for stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, says Dr. Kohler. When the child or teen puts on weight, the throat can narrow, and anything which narrows the posterior pharynx can lead to the development of OSA. OSA is a serious disorder that can be harmful, or even fatal, if it is not recognized and treated.

OSA causes a child or teen to stop breathing during sleep and can disturb his or her sleep several times on any given night, resulting in daytime sleepiness. Children or teens who are chronically tired may have cognitive, attention or behavioral problems, whether in the classroom or on the playing field, says Dr. Kohler, adding that they may be irritable or cranky or have ADHD.

Dr. Kohler notes that OSA symptoms may prevent a student-athlete from participating in a critical game or deter the ability to perform well in individual or head-to-head compe
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Contact: Jim Arcuri
jarcuri@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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