Through The Eyes Of A Child

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Question:  What do sleep disorders, craniofacial pain, child growth and development, chronic inflammation, academic and work performance, snoring, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease all have in common?

Answer: An AIRWAY Problem!

What if we could address a potential problem early in life rather than spend years and resources treating a much more serious problem later in life? Let’s take a look at the children in our country. Many people realize that more than ever before, the current generation of children are facing health issues like obesity, diabetes, and learning challenges.

What parents also need to know is that correcting unhealthy airways in children minimizes the risk of obesity, poor growth development and behavioral issues like ADHD. Yes, we said obesity and ADHD. According to Dr. Stephen Sheldon, D.O., from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, (see http://www2.luriechildrens.org/ce/powerpoint/sheldon/sheldon.html), ADHD in children is highly linked to sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea.

Recommended treatment for children ranges from early orthodontic to myofuctional (tongue posture) treatments that ease breathing passages, train proper muscle movements, and aid in the growth of the jaws.  Taking care of obstructions to proper breathing, like swollen tonsils and adenoids, or removing physical restrictions to tongue movements, are also on the list.

How about adults? What would happen if we followed a child with a compromised airway through adulthood? The story would look something like this: 

• Joe, a tired, sleepy child (whose airway is the size of a number two pencil) has problems focusing in school. His school performance suffers and he gets in trouble often.

• Diagnosed with ADHD, Joe is given medication and shuffles through middle school, while his body fights to adapt to a lower oxygen saturation level. 

• Despite his parents’ push for good nutrition, Joe’s body and mind obsess over carb and sugar cravings, and obesity unwillingly develops. 

• In high school Joe is diagnosed with depression, in addition to ADHD and obesity. 

School attendance is poor and the risk of dropping out is much higher. 

• In his twenties, and now an adult, Joe is diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. His weight gain continues, depression is increased, and Joe struggles keeping a job and a healthy relationship.

• By the age of 30 Joe’s shocked to be diagnosed with hypertension and high blood pressure. By Joe’s 35th birthday, he is at a huge risk for heart failure. 

This story isn’t far-fetched. We’ve seen it happen and the outcome is fatal. What’s even more alarming is that the quality of life during Joe’s 30+ years is less than ideal. It’s one of fatigue, frustration, depression, anxiety, chronic inflammation, and a laundry list of other failing health issues. From an early age, Joe suffered from a significant disadvantage in life, stemming from the fact that his airway was the size of a number two pencil. 

By working together with parents, dentists, and physicians to identify potential issues of poor airway health in children and adults, we are able to prevent serious health issues that unfold later in life. If you, a family member, or a loved one, express signs of fatigue or snoring, please contact us immediately to take the necessary next steps to achieve better overall health. 

Breathing properly makes all of the difference in a person’s quality of life.  In severe conditions, a compromised airway and untreated sleep apnea can be life threatening. Please call us today for more information.