If your child snores frequently or excessively,
or shows signs of the other symptoms found below, then you should
consider making an appointment with a pediatric ear, nose, and throat
doctor to determine whether or not your child’s snoring
is a result of
pediatric sleep apnea.
general, frequent or
excessive snoring is the most common symptom of
sleep apnea in children and in adults. However, unlike adults who
frequently wake up due to their sleep apnea, children normally sleep
right through the night, so it can be harder to diagnose.
are a few signs and
symptoms to be on the lookout for, and if your
child shows any of these symptoms, you should immediately make an
appointment with your pediatrician to see if they could be caused by
pediatric sleep apnea.
of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea in children are:
tonsils or adenoids
- Weight loss or
failure to gain weight
through their mouth while
falling asleep or overly
- Excessive sweating
and even night
headaches and confusion when
- Depressing thoughts
retraction while sleeping (chest
being constantly sucked in)
sleep apnea in both adults and children leads to excessive
daytime sleepiness, fatigue manifests in different ways in children.
Instead of being tired or sleepy, excessive fatigue may actually make
them hyper active and cause them to have difficulties
even the simplest tasks.
In fact, many children
with sleep apnea are actually
incorrectly diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD, when it is
fatigue due to sleep apnea that causes their behavioral
a lot of research has been done in this
area, and more and more doctors are starting to realize the direct link
between sleep apnea and hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, and other
cognitive and behavioral problems.
Sleep Apnea in Children
a pediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor will be able to
properly diagnose your child with sleep apnea. The most reliable
diagnostic measure is to look
for enlarged adenoids and tonsils.
However, in some cases it may also be necessary for your child to spend
a night at a sleep
clinic to undergo a polysomnogram or sleep
Associated with Childhood Sleep Apnea
addition to causing behavioral problems and excessive tiredness,
sleep apnea can also cause several other problems in children,
including slowing or inhibiting their growth and development, which is
why it is so important that it is diagnosed and treated. Children with
sleep apnea are also at a much higher risk for having severe headaches,
as well as heart and lung problems.
Options for Pediatric Sleep Apnea
surgery is not typically used to treat sleep apnea in adults, it
is actually a quite common treatment option for children with sleep
apnea. Often surgically
removing the tonsils and adenoids will
completely take care of the problem.
may also be the case that your child has nasal
polyps which are causing a
blockage of the nasal passage, and in this case there is another simple
surgical procedure to scrape out and remove the polyps which should
help. Another common treatment is the use of nasal steroids to
clear up any blockages of the nasal passages.
your child has a
deviated septum which is causing their sleep apnea, and in this case a
can be performed to repair the deviated septum and cure
their sleeping disorder.
your child is diagnosed as having severe sleep apnea, it may be
necessary for them to use a CPAP
machine which forces air into their
lungs while sleeping. While this can be quite daunting, most children
are easily adaptable and are able to quickly get used to using a CPAP
your doctor determines that CPAP is necessary to treat your
child’s sleep apnea, then it will normally be covered by your
insurance, which will contract with a home health company
provide you with the CPAP machine and all of the necessary equipment
company will come to your home to set up the
machine and instruct you on exactly how it should be used, maintained,
this is much better than the treatment options for childhood
sleep apnea that were available in the past. In fact, as late as the
1980’s, the only treatment option available for children with sleep
apnea was to undergo a tracheotomy, where a small hole was punctured in
the throat to allow the child to breathe through this hole while
sleeping. Luckily, this procedure is very rarely performed nowadays,
and only in very extreme cases where the child’s health and well-being
are at stake.
Children Have the Highest Risk for Developing Sleep Apnea?
any child can develop sleep apnea, although it is much more
common in children with frequent
allergies or other breathing problems.
As stated earlier, children who are born with a genetic abnormality
such as a deviated septum or overly small jaw are also at a much higher
risk of developing the condition.
the biggest group at risk for childhood sleep apnea is children
who are born with Down’s syndrome. If you have a child
syndrome, you should always closely monitor their sleeping patterns to
ensure that they remain normal.
groups include children born with
other medical issues such as facial abnormalities such as Treacher
Collins Syndrome, Pierre Robin sequence, and Crouzon syndrome, as well
as children with neuromuscular and central nervous system disorders and
The website Healthy Children
has many more tips and articles on how to make sure that your child
receives plenty of sleep: from how to select the best crib to sleeping
positions and even an article on sleep apnea. Be sure to check out this
to Children Snoring
to the Snoring