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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults and Obstructive Sleep Apnea*

Sohail Naseem, MD; Bashir Chaudhary, MD, FCCP; Nancy Collop, MD
Chest. 2001;119(1):294-296. doi:10.1378/chest.119.1.294
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood illness with a prevalence between 3% and 16%. It is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsiveness, impairment in academic, social, and occupational functioning, short attention span, and onset of symptoms before age 7 years. In some patients, this illness can persist into adulthood. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder affecting 3% of the population and is characterized by hypersomnolence, snoring, disturbed sleep, and cognitive dysfunction. Some studies have suggested an association between OSA and ADHD in children. Because of the overlap of symptoms, patients with OSA may be considered to have ADHD. Significant improvement in symptoms has been reported with the use of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with OSA. We present reports of three adults who were being treated for ADHD and were found to have OSA.


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