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Up to 4% of Children Have Sleep Apnea – Could Your Child Be One of Them?

Child sleepingThis is part of a series of educational posts in recognition of Sleep Apnea Awareness Day.  From April 15-May 15, Better Rest Solutions will donate $5 to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) for every SoClean® 2 CPAP Cleaning and Sanitizing Machine purchased.

You probably know at least one or two adults who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but did you know that children can develop this disorder, too?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), an estimated 1% to 4% of children have sleep apnea – and it can begin as young as 2 years old.

Some of the most common symptoms that parents should be aware of include the following:

  • Chronic mouth breathing during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Night sweats
  • Snoring
  • Tossing and turning

While there’s a chance that children will outgrow sleep apnea, studies have shown that it’s linked with a number of physical and behavioral health issues, such as:

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bed-wetting
  • Impaired cognitive functions
  • Obesity
  • Sleep-walking
  • Stunted growth

If you have reason to believe that your child may suffer from sleep apnea, the next step is to find a pediatrician who specializes in sleep disorders. It’s likely that the doctor may recommend a sleep study, which consists of your child spending the night in a sleep lab where he or she will be closely monitored.

The good news is that, in most cases, pediatric sleep apnea is easy to treat. The most common treatment is surgical removal of the adenoids and tonsils – a procedure known as an adenotonsillectomy. This opens up the throat to aid airflow, successfully eliminating symptoms of sleep apnea 70% to 90% of the time.

If an adenotonsillectomy doesn’t do the trick – or in an attempt to avoid surgery – doctors may prescribe positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, weight loss or the use of oral appliances.

To find a pediatrician who specializes in sleep apnea, click here.

photo credit: Neticola via photopin cc