What Is Sleep Apnea In Children And How To Tackle It?


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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the affected individual experiences interrupted breathing during sleep.
Can children have sleep apnea?From insomnia to high blood pressure, adults today are at a risk of being affected by a wide range of health conditions. However, most of us tend to ignore the fact that kids are little humans too; they can be and are affected by many health conditions.

Different Types Of Sleep Apnea in Children:

It may sound surprising, but around 3% kids of preschool age are victims of obstructive sleep apnea. It is a type of sleep disorder that is usually thought to affect adults and older individuals. Here we help you decode the basics of sleep apnea in kids, their signs and symptoms, and solutions.
There are three different kinds of sleep apnea:

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

It isthe most common form of the disease and is usually caused due to physical blockage of the airway, which makes it more difficult for your kid to breathe properly. Normally

large tonsils and adenoids are blamed for causing obstructive sleep apnea in children.

[ Read: Sleeping Problems In Children ]

2. Central Sleep Apnea:

In this central sleep apnea in children, the brain doesn’t function properly and does not ‘tell’ all the muscles involved in the breathing process to carry out its functions.

3. Mixed Sleep Apnea:

Individuals affected by mixed sleep apnea suffer from a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea in children.

Some Characteristics:

  1. Certain Facial Characteristics: like having a cleft palate and a receding chin can also be a contributing factor for sleep apnea.
  2. Children Affected By Down’s Syndrome: and those affected by congenital abnormalities of the upper airway are at a higher risk of being affected by this disease.
  3. Childhood Obesity: is a large contributing factor to sleep apnea in kids.

[ Read: How Much Sleep Do Kids Need ]

Signs And Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea:

Here are some common signs and symptoms that may point out to the possibility of your kid being affected by sleep apnea.

  • Problems in school
  • Attention problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air
  • Sleepiness during daytime
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Noisy breathing during sleeping
  • Sleeping in strange positions
  • Restlessness during sleeping

Tackling Sleep Apnea:

It is also believed that obstructive sleep apnea may affect cognitive functioning and behaviour in children, which is why, it needs to be evaluated early. If you observe your kid being affected by the symptoms listed above, and if you’re in doubt that he may be affected by the condition, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.

  • The first step is to examine your child’s sleep habits and note any irregularities or peculiar aspects. Report them to your doctor to help him make the correct diagnosis. Your doctor may conduct a test known as polysomnogram, which is the standard test to detect sleep apnea. This test is designed to monitor the oxygen levels in blood, eye movement, breathing and brain waves.
  • If your kid is obese, your doctor may suggest following a healthy diet and exercising to lose weight as a treatment for sleep apnea. In 90% of cases, patients are relieved of their condition by the removal of tonsils and adenoids.
  • It is important to note that sleep apnea, just like other health conditions, should not be ignored and left untreated as they could hamper the growth and development of your child. Also, delayed treatment in sleep apnea affected children is thought to be linked to many severe health conditions like high blood pressure and heart problems.

In certain severe cases, children affected by the disease may also need to use a device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which helps keep the airway open to ensure continuous flow of air into the lungs. If you discover that your child is affected by the condition, visit your healthcare provider immediately and seek appropriate treatment measures.
Let us know your methods on how you dealt sleep apnea in your children:

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