Sleep apnea is something we normally think that only adults suffer from. Children, however, can also suffer from sleep apnea. Children are most at risk if they are overweight, have a close relative who suffers from it or were premature at birth. Approximately two percent of children suffer from snoring, which is a very big sign of possible child sleep apnea.
Signs of Child Sleep Apnea
If a child has been diagnosed as having ADHD, it is important to have them evaluated for sleep apnea, especially if they also snore. Trouble concentrating, nervousness and hyperactivity can all be symptoms of sleep apnea, as well as ADHD. Other symptoms to be on the lookout for are:
- Snorts or partially waking up at night
- Sleeps with head elevated to breathe better
- Has frequent headaches upon waking
- Sweats heavily at night
- Is cranky during the day
- Falls asleep during the day on a regular basis
What Causes Sleep Apnea in Children
All our muscles, including those that involve breathing, are more relaxed when we sleep. If a child has a narrow airway, or has excess skin at the back of their throat, some form of abnormality, such as a cleft palate or deviated septum or if tonsils are enlarged, the airway can become partially or completely blocked during sleep. The snoring sound is your child’s body trying to clear the airway.
There are several treatments available to help your child’s sleep apnea. There are surgeries that involve finely-directed lasers being used to shave away excess skin or correct physical abnormalities. These are simple, only slightly invasive and afford quick recovery. If the condition isn’t able to be addressed by surgery, use of a CPAP mask or a specialized mouthpiece may be considered. Finally, eliminating extra weight may help your child breathe better.
Whatever course of treatment is pursued, treating sleep apnea will greatly improve the quality of your child’s life. Schedule an appointment with Plaza Dental Group, a dentist in Des Moines, today!