Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

How much do you know about sleep apnea? Most of us have heard a thing or two. Airflow becomes obstructed while sleeping. It causes some people to snore loudly, or wake up, startled.

Some people even stop breathing altogether, which is a scary concept, especially when it happens to children.

But what causes it? What are the symptoms, and what can be done to alleviate it?

We are here to answer your questions.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that’s caused when a person’s airways are obstructed. This obstruction happens when the muscles on the back of the throat relax too much. When the brain senses the person isn’t breathing normally, the person will wake up briefly to inhale oxygen.

This is a problem because the child doesn’t just wake up for a moment and goes back to sleep. Sleep apnea will cause interruptions in the breathing pattern numerous times throughout the night.

You know how cranky you feel after not getting any rest? Now think about how this would affect your child on a daily basis. And feeling cranky is just the tip of the iceberg. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause serious health complications.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

How Do I Know If My Child Has Sleep Apnea?

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in children:

Snoring: By itself, snoring isn’t an indication of a sleep disorder. But if your child gasps during their snores, it could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleeping in unusual positions: Just as with snoring, an unusual position, by itself, doesn’t necessarily mean a child has sleep apnea. However, if you see your child sleeping this way, pay attention to his or her breathing patterns. Your child may be trying to breathe easier by positioning themselves in odd ways.

Open mouth breathing: Open mouth breathing may be a sign of issues with tonsils or adenoids, which are a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea.

They’re constantly sleepy or yawning during the day. We’re not talking about babies. Babies sleep a lot. But if your school age child is yawning all day and looks tired, they may not be getting quality sleep due to sleep apnea.

Morning headaches: Less oxygen in the bloodstream while sleeping often results in morning headaches.

Behavioral issues: Kids with sleep apnea are more likely to be hyperactive and have trouble paying attention in school. It also increases the chances of a child engaging in aggressive behavior.

Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

There are several risk factors that can affect a child’s breathing pattern while sleeping:

  • Asthma
  • Nasal congestion
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Defects in the mouth, jaw, or throat
  • Diabetes
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • A family history of sleep apnea

What Are the Consequences of Not Obtaining Treatment?

Children with obstructive sleep apnea often experience developmental issues. This includes not reaching regular milestones associated with other kids their age.

It may also develop into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other types of behavioral problems.

In the worst of cases, sleep apnea could cause heart disease.

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

One of the most common treatments for children with obstructive sleep apnea is to remove their tonsils and adenoids. If the child is obese, a doctor may recommend weight loss and implementing healthier habits. Supplemental oxygen treatment or use of a CPAP or BiPAP machine could also be an alternative.

However, only a pediatrician who’s treating your child can decide what’s best for him or her.

Contact Sonas for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Care

If your child needs health care assistance and it’s becoming too overwhelming for you, we can help.

If you are considering pediatric care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today (888) 592-5855.

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