Attention Deficit and Sleep Apnea - What Can We do?

Ask the Experts by R. Bart Sangal, MD

Q. I'm concerned that my teenage daughter may have an attention disorder. She's easily distracted, disorganized, forgetful, and loses things all the time. College is only two years away - how can we help her?

A. She may very well have attention deficit (ADD/ADHD,) a brain disorder that begins in childhood. Left untreated it can cause poor performance in school. It can affect her ability to do her homework and maintain positive personal relationships. It can have a general negative impact on her well-being.

Attention Deficit can be confirmed using EEG based testing. EEG is a painless test that records brain waves. EEG during tasks requiring attention can also predict which medicine will control it best.

With successful treatment there's no need to panic about her potential to succeed in college and beyond.  The FDA has approved an EEG based test to confirm the diagnosis of ADHD. With successful treatment attention can be normalized. It is a life-long disorder and does not go away in adulthood.

Q. I think my husband may have sleep apnea. He snores, is always fatigued, and has blood pressure issues. His sleep patterns disrupt my sleep, so we both are struggling with work and family. What can we do?

A. The symptoms you mentioned definitely suggest he has sleep apnea. People who snore loudly, have been noticed to stop breathing in sleep, are tired, or have high blood pressure often have sleep apnea. So do people who are obese or have large necks, especially if they are over 50 or are male.

Sleep apnea can cause heart attacks, strokes, premature deaths. It can make you sleepy, impair attention and affect erections. 75% of people suffering from sleep apnea don't even know they have it. Diagnosis by a sleep specialist using sleep testing is crucial. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy (or CPAP) is the best treatment. Depending on the physician, compliance can range from 60% to 90%.

Sleep apnea occurs in children as well as adults. Treating sleep apnea prolongs life and improves quality of life. Your husband should see a sleep specialist.  Both ADD and sleep apnea can be treated successfully. The first step is a proper diagnosis by a qualified specialist.

R. Bart Sangal, MD is the director of the Sleep and Attention Disorder Institute. It is accredited by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is board certified in Clinical Neurophysiology and in Sleep Medicine. The Sleep and Attention Disorder Institute is a member of the Family Center's Association of Professionals.

Dr. Sangal will share his expertise on both of these topics April 28th at a special presentation offered by the Family Center. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (586)-254-0707. Visit


April 28, 2015, 6:30pm-8:00pm, Grosse Pointe Academy Lakeshore Building, 171 Lakeshore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms, FREE

Special Multi-Presentation Night Presented in Partnership with the Grosse Pointe Academy. Each multi-presentation begins at 6:30pm: Alzheimer's/Dementia and Attention/Sleep Disorders Alzheimer's & Dementia: "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters" with Barbara Roden "Lewy Body Dementia: Mysteries Unveiled" with Sarah Thurston, LMSW Attention Disorders and Sleep Disorders: "Unlock Your Mind's Potential" with R. Bart Sangal, MD "What Can Be Done About Sleep Disorders" with R. Bart Sangal, MD


INFO: (313) 432-3832

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