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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features January 25, 2015

7/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Tonsillectomy improves health, behavior of kids with sleep apnea
Courier Columnist

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My 6-year-old has sleep apnea. I have been told that he should have his tonsils and adenoids removed, but I am a bit reluctant to do this. What type of benefit might he get from having this done? Incidentally, he is somewhat hyperactive.

A: A recent study funded by the NIH done on 464 children demonstrated the benefits of the surgery in children with sleep apnea. Children who underwent surgery showed improvement in sleep quality, impulse control and quality of life. Beneficial effects were observed, even among overweight children in whom there has been particular uncertainty about the role of surgery. I hope that answers your question.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

When I had my yearly physical last month, my doctor said a blood test called C-reactive protein was elevated. He asked if I snored and, when I told him yes, he said I should be tested for sleep apnea. He said this elevated blood test could increase my risk of heart attack or stroke. What does that have to do with my snoring?

A: C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, especially of the blood vessels. It has been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. It is frequently elevated in sleep apnea, and some think it may be one of the major links of sleep apnea to atherosclerosis. Therefore, I understand your physician's desire to get you tested. Most studies have shown that, with treatment of sleep apnea, the C-reactive protein normalizes.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My 3-year-old resists going to bed every night. As a result, he is sleeping less than he should. My friends say not to worry about it since he will grow out of it. What do you think?

A: It is true that many children with sleep problems improve as they get older. However, there may be a problem with that. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, children with irregular sleep schedules before the age of 3 continued to lag develop-mentally, even by age 7. So it may be that the crucial first three years for brain development in a child is sleep-dependent. Therefore, I would urge that you try to maintain a regular sleep schedule with your toddler.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Since my son has returned from a recent deployment to Afghanistan, he is having a lot of trouble sleeping and many nightmares. He won't discuss them with us, but we are concerned. Do you think a sleeping pill might help?

A: No, it sounds like it is much more complicated than that. I can't make a diagnosis based on your question, but you are describing the sleep-related symptoms of PTSD.

I would urge you to have him seen either at your local VA hospital or by a psychiatrist. The sooner this is attended to, the better for your son.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, will answer readers' questions by incorporating them in future columns. Contact him through the form at or via mail at the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, 3259 N. Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Steven M

There is a tremendous amount of medical information, fact, and opinion available on the net. I encourage all to get many opinions before any treatment or surgery. The idea that anyone would take drugs or decide on surgery based on a newspaper column is scary. Every responsible doctor should encourage their patients to get other opinions.
Most of my friends and neighbors who have medical needs usually end up in Phoenix before their problem is solved. The DVD disc I received last year, that contained my MRI, included the unintended scans and medical records of 3 local strangers as well. Prescott is not known for great medical care.

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