Understanding Sleep Apnea in Children Symptoms And Treatments.


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Sleep Apnea in Children

The word ‘apnea’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘without breath.’ According to statistics, 1 in every 10 children in the world suffers from sleep apnea. Out of all these cases, approximately 20% are life-threatening. What’s even more worrying is that sleep apnea in children cannot always be easily diagnosed. Unlike in adults where the signs are easily discernible, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a child is indeed suffering from sleep apnea.

Much of the problem in getting an accurate diagnosis is that the symptoms can be common to other conditions. Vigilant observation by the parents is required if sleep apnea is suspected.

Common Signs And Symptoms of Sleep Apnea In Children

Sometimes the root cause of sleep apnea is the enlargement of the tonsils or adenoids. If this is suspected to be the issue, a simple diagnostic imaging procedure can be performed to see if these tissues are abnormally large. If necessary, arrangements can be made so that they can be surgically removed.

Some of the more common signs include:

” Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose.
” Loud snoring, especially if they do not have signs of a cold.
” Pauses in breathing or gasping for breath.
” Trouble concentrating at school (due to not getting enough quality sleep).
” Unexplained behavioral changes – easily irritated, cranky and moody.
” Constant exhaustion during the day.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms in your child, it is possible that they may be suffering from sleep apnea. For a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to take your child to the doctor as soon as possible. Typically, the doctor will refer your child for a polysomnography, or sleep study test. This is often done overnight at your local hospital.

Additionally, your doctor will ask you questions about your child’s recent sleeping patterns to enable an accurate diagnosis. Once the test results are returned, and the condition confirmed an appropriate treatment will be prescribed.

Effects of Sleep Apnea

Tragically, many young lives have been lost due to sleep apnea. Many people think this condition only affects adults, and as a result parents are often not adequately informed about the dangers. In order to prevent any dire consequences, remember that it is always better to be proactive when it comes to serious disorders such as this.

If you have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above, take action! Don’t just assume they will grow out of it. If for any reason there is a delay in seeing your family doctor, video your child sleeping, as this will help speed up any diagnosis.

Treatment Options

The recommended treatment methods for sleep apnea in children are quite simple, considering the grave circumstances if left untreated.

For example, if your child is overweight or inactive, it is important to implement some healthy outdoor exercise. Make it fun! Keep your child engaged with nature. Start walking to school, or walk to the local store. Go swimming, or skating, or whatever sport is in your area. You could even enroll the whole family in some martial arts classes.

Studies indicate that people of all ages who are active and maintain a healthy weight are less likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

There is no question that sleep apnea in children can be a concern, especially for parents. You can take comfort in the fact that once detected, there are solutions available. Being a competent parent means being aware and observant and taking appropriate action early.

Understanding Sleep Apnea in Children Symptoms And Treatments.

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