Is It Actually Possible For Young Children To Experience Sleep Apnea?

We quite often are more likely to picture small children as being less vulnerable to destructive health problems compared to adults, as if their youthfulness and innocence somehow makes them much more impervious to infection and disease. However, this isn’t the case, not even with a supposedly “adult” medical condition such as sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea-as differentiated from central sleep apnea-is a common medical problem in kids which is in many instances seen as producing poor attention span and erratic behavior that can damage a child’s school performance.Sleep apnea comes about whenever a person encounters a number of breathing pauses as well as short breaths while asleep. The breathing interruptions typically take place between 5 and 30 or more times hourly on 3 or even more nights per week. The breathing pauses may last as little as a few seconds or as long as minutes.

Either way, the brain recognizes that the body wants oxygen and strengthens the breathing actions, resulting in the person to move from deep sleep to light sleep as they are gasping for air. As a consequence, the person does not achieve long lasting deep sleep and experiences the following day feeling drowsy. In adults, obstructive apnea is commonly noticed by persistent snoring and it is commonly associated with being considerably overweight. In kids, however, snoring might not be an indication (10-20 percent of healthy children snore) and obesity often is not a contributing factor.The following is a summary of factors frequently related to children who are suffering from obstructive apnea: breathing with the mouth because of upper airway occlusion, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, restless sleep, weight loss or poor weight gain, excessive daytime sleepiness and cognitive and behavioral problems including poor attention span, hyperactivity and aggressive behavior.

When a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist or a sleep specialist determines that your child has obstructive apnea; a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy might be performed to resolve the issue, these being the most typical cures for childhood apnea. But when enlarged tonsils and adenoids aren’t a contributing factor, your son or daughter might be suitable for a polysomnogram-a painless overnight procedure performed at a sleep clinic that involves placing small sensors on the head, face, chest and finger to chart vital signs and muscle movements as the patient sleeps.Like several sleep problems, obstructive apnea can lead to a weakened immune system that compromises an individual’s capability to fight off infection and disease. Therefore, addressing apnea is essential to a lot more than the advance of your child’s overall behavior and attention span.

Children who exhibit an inability to concentrate are often prescribed medications that treat adhd (ADD), but if apnea may be the underlying cause of your child’s short attention span, such medications only serve to mask the symptoms of apnea. ADD often occurs without the presence of apnea, but for the sake of the child’s immune system and the or capability to achieve restful sleep, it’s wise to make contact with an ear nose and throat specialist or a sleep medicine clinic before surmising that your child is affected with non-apnea induced ADD.

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