Obstructive Sleep Apnea
by Ren Chats
Does your child snore?
Does she also have obstructive sleep apnea?
Well, how could you know!
Obstructive sleep apnea is a well known, but in children it is often missed.
Mothers do complain that children fidget in sleep, but this intermediate restlessness in bed is usually laughed out as one of the funny aspects of childhood.
The results of the study by Dr. Beebe and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center initiates us to create more awareness of the problem among the parents.
The study has found close association of children's school related problems, behavior disorders and attention deficit with obstructive sleep apnea, usually presented as snoring and intermediate restlessness in bed.
Snoring is common even in otherwise healthy children; 1-2% of preschool children snore. It is caused by the narrowing of upper air passage; commonly seen with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, obesity, allergies and upper respiratory tract infections.
Nevertheless, persistent loud snoring without an apparent underlying cause should promptly be brought to notice of your child health care provider: 2% of them suffer from obstructive sleep apnea as well.
Obstructive sleep apnea implies that child’s breathing gets interrupted for few seconds making the child restless for breath. In severe cases, the sleep can be disrupted in effort to catch up the breath. These children may even intermittently wake up crying.
Parents get confused and relate it to the dreams that child could be having, and the child does not know how to explain the suffocation experienced. Consequently, the matter never reaches for medical consultation. Moreover, even at doctor’s clinic it is difficult to diagnose sleep apnea in children.
This new study emphasizes the need to rule out the possibility of sleep apnea in children suffering from day time:
1. Excessive sleepiness
2. Irritability; may be seen as temper tantrums
3. Attention deficit
5. Aggressive behavior
Other noticeable symptoms that should alert parents are -
1. Failure to gain expected weight and height: Maintain regular growth chart.
2. Mouth breathing.
3. Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids.
4. Nasal twang in speech.
5. Difficulty going to sleep.
6. Restless or disrupted sleep pattern.
It is best to have a medical consultation in all children who snore, even in absence of the symptoms innumerate above, because obstructive sleep apnea can occur without them.
Have questions? Post them.
I will answer them in due course.
1. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (2012, August 13). Persistent and loud snoring in young children linked to problem behaviors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 16, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2012/08/120813074132.htm
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical Practice Guideline: Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, Pediatrics. 2002;109:704-712.
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