Do your toddlers have difficulty breathing at night? Do they snore or breathe through their mouth? According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, young children who have trouble breathing normally in their sleep are much more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems by the time they reach the age of seven.
In what is the said to be the largest study covering this matter, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found a link between breathing problems and the risk of getting disorders such as anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Observing more than 13,000 children from infancy to seven years of age, researchers were able to determine that 45 percent of them didn’t develop breathing problems. The rest showed signs of breathing problems between infancy and early childhood. While these cases weren't necessarily serious, eight percent of the kids were categorized under the "worst case group" because their symptoms were at their highest when the children were two to three years old; the symptoms also did not disappear. Sleep-disordered breathing was associated with a 72-percent increase in the risk of getting behavioral and emotional symptoms by the time the kids in this group turned seven.
At this point, researchers can’t say for certain that there is a direct relationship between breathing problems and behavioral and emotional disorders in children. More research needs to be done on the subject. In the meantime, observe your kids for any symptoms that hint at breathing problems for the benefit of their health.
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(Photo by Amanda Truss /clash via Flickr Creative Commons)