We tend to think of sleep apnea as a condition that primarily affects adult men. But adults of all ages, both male and female, can get Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Sleep apnea also afflicts children. In fact, the American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that between two and eight percent of children suffer from the condition.
If your child snores and they’re also acting sluggish or disruptive during the day, they could have sleep apnea. The best way to find out for sure is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lauck. She’ll make sure your child gets the right diagnosis and the appropriate care.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children
If your child is suffering from OSA, that means there’s an obstruction in the airway that causes them to completely stop breathing multiple times each night. This leads to a serious reduction in their blood oxygen level, causing significant health issues.
There are a number of symptoms which could indicate that your child is suffering from sleep apnea, including:
- Night Sweats
- Weight Gain
- Daytime Grogginess
- Behavioral Issues
- Difficulty Staying Awake
How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Child
Sleep apnea can damage your child’s physical growth, behavior, and cognitive development. It can cause your child to be sluggish throughout the day and it can harm their intellectual development.
Unfortunately, sleep apnea in children is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many of the symptoms of the two conditions are similar, and they can both cause a child to have difficulty in school. That’s why it’s crucial to receive the correct diagnosis if your child is suffering from sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea in Children
Although children and adults who suffer from sleep apnea share many of the same symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime irritability, the causes can be different. For children, OSA is commonly related to developmental issues, especially the size of the child’s tongue, jaw, tonsils, or adenoids.
Children with OSA often suffer from enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these cases, surgery to reduce the tissue that’s blocking the airway is often the recommended course of treatment.
Weight gain is another factor that can contribute to childhood sleep apnea. If we begin to treat this issue at an early age, it can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing sleep apnea and alleviate their sleep apnea symptoms.