Thursday, November 13, 2008
Medical Reports: Sweet Dreams
Adults often say they wish they could sleep like a baby. But it turns out, many of our children are now suffering from sleep disorders normally seen in adults. Seven's Lynn Martinez shows us how some local doctors are working to give these young patients Sweet Dreams.
WSVN -- Everybody needs a good night's sleep, but not everyone is getting one. Sixteen-year-old Leon Hagins had trouble with sleep since birth.
Rosetta Turnquest: "We were always wondering why he snored when he was a baby, but the doctor said that was normal, there was no problem."
But there was a serious problem that got worse as Leon got older. Lack of sleep left Leon falling asleep in class and even while riding his bike.
Leon Hagins: "Me and my godfather were riding bikes. I fell asleep and ran into a parked car."
But his family didn't realize how serious his problem was until he complained of chest pain and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Rosetta Turnquest: "He had to be on a respirator. He was on it for five days."
Doctors discovered his brain was not getting enough oxygen, and his breathing was being interrupted every night while he slept. He was referred to a sleep specialist.
Dr. Juan Martinez, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "We see toddlers, we see some of the older kids, we really go up to about 18 years of age."
Dr. Juan Martinez says he is treating more and more kids.
Dr. Juan Martinez: "It's probably doubled in kids under 10 years old in the last 20 years and nearly tripled in the adolescent population."
Obesity is the leading cause of the problem because excess weight can make it difficult for some kids to breathe. That can lead to a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.
Dr. Juan Martinez: "Obstructive sleep apnea basically is an inability to get appropriate airflow through your upper airway into your lungs."
So, parents, how do you know if your child is at risk? Here are the warning signs: snoring, gasping for air, difficulty focusing during the day and, believe it or not, hyperactivity.
Dr. Juan Martinez: "They tend not to pay attention that well in school. They tend to have learning difficulties. They don't follow instructions well."
Leon spent a night at Joe DiMaggio's Pediatric Sleep Clinic. He was hooked up to machines to monitor his brain waves and breathing patterns.
Dr. Juan Martinez: "We have belts that go across the chest and the abdomen that help us tell when the kids are having difficulty breathing."
Doctors found Leon's sleep was disrupted by gasping for air. Now he sleeps with this. It's called a C-PAP machine that forces a flow of oxygen into his lungs to help him breathe better. He is back to playing basketball with his friends, has lost weight and says going to the sleep clinic saved his life.
Leon Hagins: "I would say it's the best thing to help you out if you want to live. It helped me."
The good news is most insurance companies cover the costs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Juan Martinez
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital
3435 Hayes Street
Hollywood, FL 33021
Tel: (954) 986-6333