Pediatric Sleep Apnea
What is Pediatric Sleep Apnea?
Sleep disorders are more common among young children than you may think. About 4% of all children in America suffer from some kind of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that leads to partial or complete blockage of airways, disrupting the child’s sleep. Pediatric sleep apnea is one of the most important causes of behavioral problems among kids and their lack luster performance in school.
If your child is exhibiting the symptoms of sleep apnea, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced pediatric sleep specialist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.
What Causes Pediatric Sleep Apnea?
Any obstruction that blocks the airway of your child leads to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When we sleep, the muscles in our body relax. The same goes for the muscles surrounding the throat, leaving the airway vulnerable to any obstructive agent. The most common cause of airway obstruction in young kids is enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. Obesity may also contribute to many sleep disorders including pediatric sleep apnea, as excessive deposits of fat around the neck and throat may narrow the airway down and obstruct breathing.
What are the Symptoms of Pediatric Sleep Apnea?
Following are some of the telltale signs that your child is suffering from sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping and snorting
- Mouth breathing
- Breathing pauses
- Feeling sleepy all day long
- Strained breathing leading to excessive sweating
- Poor performance at school
- Difficulty concentrating
- Waking up several times during the night
Lack of a good night’s sleep may have many social and behavioral consequences. Your child may be irritable throughout the day and may find it hard to focus on his/her studies. Your child may show symptoms similar to one suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep disorders including sleep apnea may also lead to less production of growth hormones and may increase the risk of high blood pressure among other heart and lung problems.
What are the Risk Factors for Pediatric Sleep Apnea?
In addition to being overweight and having enlarged tonsils, following factors can exacerbate your child’s sleep apnea:
- Having a small jaw or midface
- Neuromuscular deficits resulting from cerebral palsy or Down syndrome
- Having an excessively large tongue that can fall back and block the airway during sleep
- Exposure to Tobacco
When Should I see a Doctor?
Children need to sleep more than adults. If you find your child sleepy throughout the day, showing signs of misbehavior and poor school performance, you should have your child checked by an experienced pediatric sleep specialist.
How is Pediatric Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
The pediatric sleep specialist may use any or all of the following diagnostic procedures to diagnose your child’s sleep apnea:
- He/she may carry out a thorough physical exam to find out the causal factor of the airway obstruction like enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- The doctor may ask you for detailed medical history of your child and ask you questions about your child’s sleeping habits and behavior
- A sleep study or a Polysomnogram can assist the pediatric sleep doctor to study the variety of bodily functions while your child is asleep. Generally performed in a sleep lab or a hospital, the test involves a few wires being attached to the head and body of the kid, to monitor functions like Eye movements, Heart rate, Breathing pattern, Blood oxygen level, Brain waves, and Body movements during sleep.
How is Pediatric Sleep Apnea Treated?
Depending on the root cause of your child’s sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend following treatments:
- If enlarged tonsils and adenoids are waking your kid up during the night, surgical removal of the tissues may be the most effective cure option
- Lifestyle changes can help bring down the weight and remove excessive fat surrounding your child’s throat.
- Your doctor may also recommend CPAP. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy uses a mask and a machine to keep the airway open by continuously pumping air into it.
Pediatric Sleep Apnea can negatively affect the quality of life and if left unchecked, can lead to serious complications. If your child is exhibiting the symptoms of sleep apnea, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced pediatric sleep specialist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.
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