Ryan’s youth sleep troubles evolved into a business with his father

Ryan Yousefian Class of 2013

 

Ryan’s challenges in class began in his junior high years. He struggled to concentrate and recall information. He was a bright kid but wasn’t finding success in school. He underwent evaluations to find out why, and his Dad, a Bellevue orthodontist, discovered his son’s difficulties had little to do with what was happening within the four walls of a classroom and everything to do with what happened internally with his son when he laid down to sleep. Ryan was diagnosed with pediatric sleep apnea and had surgery and therapy to help him reclaim sleep. 

Now he and his dad Dr. Joseph Yousefian are on a mission to prevent and cure sleep apnea, which affects more than 18 million American adults and more than 10% of children in America. They’re developing medical devices and treatment protocols that can dramatically improve the quality of a person’s sleep.

Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. For those who struggle with the condition, a combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation can lead to hypertension, heart disease and mood and memory problems.

The father-son team has started a company named ApnoMed that will focus on medical devices and teach how to properly diagnose, prevent and treat sleep apnea in children and adults. Through his work, Ryan is also spreading awareness that kids – even very young children – can suffer from sleep apnea and go undetected. Many children who have the condition don’t snore, making it a “silent” problem that can surface only through behavior and learning.

Ryan worries that some learning disabilities are being improperly diagnosed and hopes parents and the medical community will become more aware of sleep apnea and how to prevent and treat it.

After graduation from Bellevue Christian, Ryan attended Washington State University focusing on business and entrepreneurship. He currently lives in Bellevue. Some of his best memories at Bellevue Christian are from Mr. Brown’s class studying graphic design and photography and in Senora Nansen’s Spanish class. He credits the school for helping set his moral compass and making lifelong friends.