Sleep apnea is one of the dangerous yet common conditions caused by the upper airway being blocked or obstructed by something and also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When one thinks of sleep apnea, they often picture an overweight middle-aged man, but this is not the case. Kids can also be affected by sleep apnea and thus miss on healthy and restful sleep.
When OSA is left untreated, I can lead to learning, growth, behavioral and heart problems. To avoid that, you should be able to detect the problem early enough. Some of the symptoms in kids are;
• Loud snores on a regular basis.
• Pauses, gaps and snorts and sometimes the breathing stops leading o repeated night-waking.
• Restless or abnormal sleeping positions and head in an unusual way.
• Heavy sweat during sleep.
• You should be concerned when your child breathes through the mouth during the day and night.
• Sometimes the child grows slower than he should.
There are two different types of sleep apnea.
• Obstructive Sleep apnea- It is the common kind of apnea whereby the airway becomes blocked, often when the soft tissue at the back of the throat, collapse during sleep.
• Central sleep apnea- It is different from OSA, whereby the brain fails to send a signal to the muscle to breathe due to respiratory control center instability.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
You may be wondering can my child have sleep apnea, and if so what causes it? The answer is simple. Your child may have sleep apnea, but there are different reasons you should have in mind. When we sleep, our muscles relax inclusive the back of throat tissue which helps keep open the airway.
OSA, these muscles tend to over-relax thus collapsing the airway making it hard to breathe. Particularly for those with enlarged tonsils or germ-fighting tissues at the back of nasal cavity called adenoids. These are the major causes of OSA in kids.
Other factors include;
• A family history of OSA
• Certain medical conditions like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.
• Structural defects of mouth, jaw or throat which can narrow the airway.
• A Large neck of inches 17+ for men and 16+ in women.
• Large tongue. It can fall back and block the airway during sleep.
However, child sleep apnea can become diagnosed. The most efficient way is to schedule an appointment at a sleep facility for an overnight polysomnogram. The research tool for studying sleep and diagnostic tool used to determine sleep disorders is what is known as the polysomnogram.
All activities done include measuring brain activity, muscle movements, breathing, heart rate and levels of blood oxygen. Parents are often encouraged to sleep in the child’s room but on a separate bed to ensure comfort and safety of the children undergoing the study.
Only one event per hour is needed to indicate a definite diagnosis of sleep apnea for children. For mild sleep apnea 1-5 episodes, moderate sleep apnea 5-15 episodes, severe sleep apnea 15 or higher episodes.
You can also seek out a pediatrician with a specialty in sleeping disorders once you suspect your child might have OSA. Keep in mind that, as there is a possibility that affected kids can grow out of the sleep disorders, there is advancing evidence that untreated pediatric sleep disorders can cause heavy toll while they persist.
Call Oasis Dental Milton for your Free Treatment Consultation at 905-876-2747