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Tonsillectomy for Sleep Apnea May Trigger Weight Gain
Date:7/28/2014

ea are already overweight or obese. If they rapidly put on pounds, Katz said, their sleep apnea might return in six months to a year.

"After surgery, parents are often very satisfied," Katz noted. "Their kids are sleeping better, and they may be better behaved and doing better in school. But there's this insidious issue of weight gain."

Chakravorty agreed that diet and exercise are key for children with sleep apnea -- but she said that's true regardless of the treatment approach. And, for heavy kids, weight loss alone might clear up the sleep apnea.

But if children ultimately do need surgery, parents shouldn't skip it due to worries about weight gain, according to Katz. He noted that if improved sleep apnea symptoms explain the post-surgery pounds, then other treatments -- including medication or continuous positive airway pressure devices -- could also spur excess weight gain.

"I think there are implications beyond surgical treatment," Katz said.

More information

The American Sleep Apnea Association has more on treatment for children.

SOURCES: Eliot Katz, M.D., pulmonary and respiratory diseases, Boston Children's Hospital; Sangeeta Chakravorty, M.D., co-director, pediatric sleep evaluation center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; August 2014, Pediatrics


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