Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects people of all ages, including children. It occurs when the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep, causing breathing to stop and start. While it can be a serious condition, it is often treatable with proper diagnosis and management.
In children, sleep apnea can have a significant impact on their health, behavior, and academic performance.
Here are some signs and symptoms to watch for:
- Loud snoring: While snoring alone doesn’t necessarily mean a child has sleep apnea, it can be a sign of an obstructed airway.
- Pauses in breathing: If you notice your child’s breathing stops and starts during sleep, it may be a sign of sleep apnea.
- Restless sleep: Children with sleep apnea may toss and turn, sweat profusely, and have trouble staying asleep.
- Bedwetting: Some children have trouble with bedwetting due to changes in the chemical balance in the body caused by sleep apnea.
- Smaller stature: It is true you grow during sleep and sleep apnea can disrupt the release of growth hormone. Affected children may not grow as much as their peers.
- Daytime sleepiness: If your child is excessively sleepy during the day, it may be a sign that they’re not getting quality sleep at night.
- Behavioral problems: Sleep apnea can cause irritability, hyperactivity, and other behavioral problems. There are strong ties to ADHD and sleep apnea.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider who can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea in children.
Treatment options for sleep apnea may include:
- Watchful waiting to see if natural growth and development can improve the airway.
- Early interventional orthodontics to help grow and expand the jaw and create more room in the airway.
- Myofunctional therapy If your child has a tongue tie a simple surgical procedure to release the tongue from the floor of the mouth followed by myofunctional therapy, kind of like physical therapy for the tongue, can help facilitate proper nasal breathing and jaw growth and development
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy: CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea that involves wearing a mask over the nose and/or mouth during sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air, keeping the airway open.
- Adenotonsillectomy: This is a surgical procedure that involves removing the tonsils and adenoids if they are contributing to the obstruction to help open up the airway.
- Weight management: For children who are overweight or obese, weight loss may be an effective way to improve sleep apnea symptoms.
- Behavioral changes: Making simple changes to sleep habits, such as avoiding screens before bedtime, can help improve general sleep quality
In conclusion, sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder and is currently estimated to impact 1% of children. It is important to watch for common signs and symptoms as untreated apnea can have a significant impact on their growth and development, health, and emotional well being. Please consult with a healthcare provider if you suspect your child may have this condition. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most children with sleep apnea can achieve better sleep and improve their overall quality of life.
If you are looking for sleep apnea treatment near Denver, CO give us a call!