Dealing with Sleep Apnea in Children: Treatment, Remedies, and Solutions

by CapstoneTrends

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects men, women, and children. When children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, it can be especially alarming for parents.

If you are dealing with sleep apnea in children, then you need to understand the treatment, remedies, and solutions. Sleep apnea -- obstructive sleep apnea syndrome -- is actually very common in children. If your child has sleep apnea do not worry as he can be treated. However, before that you need to have the right information about the condition so that your baby is diagnosed in time and can get the appropriate medical assistance.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children

Children are mostly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea that is caused by obstruction in the air passage. To identify this, you should look for symptoms like snoring loudly and in greater frequency. Restless sleep and less sleeping in general are other indications of sleep apnea. Mouth breathing and large tonsils and adenoids can also indicate sleep apnea. Your child may lose or gain weight, and suffer from lack of energy during the daytime from the loss of sleep.

Consequences of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea has serious consequences other than causing deficiency in energy and mental growth. Snoring can make a child feel embarrassed in front of his siblings. If he goes for camping or sleepovers, his friends may tease him.

A child’s growth may be hampered due to sleeping disorders. Children with sleep apnea are often inattentive and moody. These children can become aggressive, stressed out, angry, and irritable. It has been seen that children suffering from sleep apnea sometimes have attention deficit disorders like ADD or ADHD. 

  • In children with sleep apnea, production of growth hormones is somtimes disrupted. These children can face developmental issues. 
  • Children suffering from regular sleep apnea lack energy to perform physical activities the following day, and this often leads to obesity or weight gain.
  • Children may develop heart and lung problems due to sleep apnea. Some children are found to suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Bedwetting is also sometimes caused by sleep apnea. 

Diagnosis of sleep apnea

An ENT (Otolaryngology) or pediatric doctor are only ones who can conclusively determine if your child has sleep apnea. Usually a test known as polysomnography is conducted on a child to determine whether he suffers from the condition. Once your child is diagnosed correctly, the doctor will suggest treatment to help him to treat it.

Treatment of sleep apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea in children sometimes results from enlarged tonsils and adenoid (the tissue at the back of the nasal cavity). Surgery is often suggested as an option to cure this problem.
  • Doctors have found that some allergies can cause nasal obstruction. Often a prescribed nasal steroid can reduce the airway clogs, and can allow the child to breathe easily.
  • Overweight children can often be put on weight-loss programs to eliminate the symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
  • C-PAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is sometimes used to treat children with sleep apnea.  C-PAP is a machine that uses a nose mask to blow air into the nose so that the airway remains open without any obstruction.
  • Use of a C-PAP requires training, and of course, medical supervision. It’s also possible for healthcare company to provide you with required training to use it on your child.

Conclusion

Suffering from the condition of sleep apnea overnight may cause your child to feel distressed, irritated, and rundown during the daytime. It is essential that you seek proper medical attention and provide him or her some relief from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Updated: 01/25/2012, CapstoneTrends
 
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Angel on 01/21/2012

Very informative article. Our little girl had to spend 2 nights in the hospital for a sleep study because the pediatrician was suspicious of sleep apnea. Thank goodness she did not have it. Those were 2 very long nights.

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