Sleep medicine

Sleep Apnea Not Just for Adults

At the age of 9, William Einbinder was energetic, creative and enthusiastic about life. A year later, all that changed.

He woke exhausted each morning and had no appetite for school or friends. I was tired all the time, he says. After extensive testing for depression and other personality disorders, William completed a sleep study with pediatric neurologist and sleep medicine specialist Jose Colon, M.D. There, he learned the cause of his condition: sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is common in overweight adults whose weight impairs their breathing. In children like William, sleep apnea is generally caused by an obstruction of the tonsils or adenoids. In many cases, physicians can alleviate the problem by prescribing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.

This condition is under-recognized in children, Dr. Colon says. Many times children who have a sleep disorder are sent to a psychologist or psychiatrist and end up on antidepressants.

Dr. Colon treats patients of all ages and has seen an uptick in the number of pediatric patients who benefit from CPAP. It doesn t work for everyone, but the patients who respond to it notice a big change in their lives, he says.

The CPAP machine consists of a mask that covers the mouth and/or the nose. It may take time for patients to become accustomed to using the device, but once they put it on, it regulates their breathing. It is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is often effective in people with even the most severe cases of sleep apnea.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to risk factors associated with heart disease. It s a modifiable risk factor, Dr. Colon says. There is absolutely no reason to lose sleep when something like this helps so many people.

William s mother, cardiologist Lynne Einbinder, M.D., says that the CPAP has helped William, now 10, get uninterrupted sleep, allowing him to regain his confidence and to focus on other areas of his life. The change has been night and day, she says. I think it s important to talk about this, because at first I did not put it together that his condition could be related to sleep apnea, and I know it s the same for other parents. William is back on a routine sleep schedule and doesn t mind wearing a mask when he sleeps. I like having a good night s sleep, he says. The people who made this are gods!

Little Sleep Affects Kids Health


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Jose Colon, M.D.
Sleep Medicine
Lee Physician Group
13601 Plantation Road
Suite 3
Fort Myers, FL 33912

Lynne Einbinder, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
14051 Metropolis Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33912



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