Meta: Sleep apnea is typically thought to be a grown ups condition, but it can affect up to one in five children, too.
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea, is typically thought to be an adult condition. Statistically, the typical sleep apnea patient is an over-50-year-old male who suffers from obesity and possibly other medical conditions. It certainly doesn’t conjure the image of hyperactive children. But that’s exactly what has some sleep specialists worried.
Because children aren’t the typical obstructive sleep apnea patient, parents may miss the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, leaving their child untreated and even more likely to develop serious medical conditions as they grow older.
Here are some things to look for in your child if you suspect they may have sleep apnea.
Snoring is usually the number one indicator that there’s a sleep apnea problem. Snoring can sound like normal snoring, or it can sound like your child is gasping for air or choking as they snore.
Sleep is important, especially for growing children. That’s why it’s also so important to be sure your child is getting adequate sleep, and that your child does not suffer from the side effects of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea doesn’t just disrupt sleep, it can disrupt your child’s day, too.
Children with sleep apnea often display cognitive impairment, may struggle with school, be slow or lethargic, or on the opposite end of things, could be hyperactive. In fact, the effects of sleep deprivation can often be confused and treated as ADHD.
Daytime issues may even include obesity or being overweight.
So, how common is obstructive sleep apnea in children? It is estimated by researchers that while data shows that the number is extremely low, it could be a lot higher – an estimated one in five children could be facing sleep apnea.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you suspect your child may have sleep apnea, speak to their pediatrician about scheduling a sleep study at a sleep clinic (or at home) who specializes in pediatric sleep disorders.
Once you have a diagnosis, speak with your physician about treatment options.
If you suspect yourself or another adult may have sleep apnea, also visit your physician for a referral to a sleep specialist. If you are being treated for sleep apnea and aren’t satisfied with your CPAP machine, speak to Dr. Abelar about a custom sleep orthotic which positions the airway open without the use of a mask or forced air.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Abelar, please contact the office today!