Help Your Child Sleep Better Today
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that needs a professional’s opinion before treatment is administered. Generally, people associate sleep apnea with snoring, and while patients do experience severe snoring as a symptom of sleep apnea, they’re two separate conditions.
Awareness of sleep apnea is growing as more and more people are noticing the symptoms, and are seeking help from qualified physicians and dentists. However, there’s one group who gets forgotten—children.
Sleep Apnea: What’s the Deal?
Most children with sleep apnea suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)—this means they have an obstruction that’s restricting their airway, preventing them from breathing regularly throughout the night. Diminished breathing leads to a significant decrease in their blood oxygen levels, which can give rise to severe medical problems such as shortness of breath and weakened heart function.
OSA can have a substantial effect on how your child develops, and their overall health. Living with untreated sleep apnea can cause them to be irritable and groggy during the day, as well as act out sporadically.
Woefully, professionals commonly misdiagnose children with obstructive sleep apnea as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This happens because the symptoms of ADHD and OSA are similar. However, recent studies may have found a link between these two medical conditions.
Symptoms of OSA in Children
When we diagnose children with OSA, they have a lot of the same symptoms as adults—such as loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, and restless sleep. According to the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, children who snore loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. For this reason, we’ve created a list of other common sleep apnea symptoms in children. They are as follows:
- Bed wetting
- Night sweats
- Mouth breathing while sleeping
- Poor attention span
- Weight gain
- Academic and behavioral issues
What Causes Sleep Apnea in Children?
Obstructive sleep apnea is usually brought on by developmental issues in children. If your child’s tonsils, throat, tongue, jaw, or any other oral structure is the wrong size, it can be responsible for their OSA.
Unlike adults with OSA, children with the same condition regularly suffer from enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these situations, we often recommend surgery to remedy the issue. Furthermore, if your child is overweight, it may also contribute to their sleep apnea.
Treating Your Child’s Sleep Apnea in Gig Harbor, WA
Dentists like Dr. Iregui are frequently the first to identify developmental issues that could lead to OSA. This is because dentists focus on the health of your mouth and throat, which is where OSA occurs; it also helps that children visit the dentist more often than they visit doctors.
Dr. Iregui at SoundBridge Dental Arts & Sleep Therapy is an expert in sleep dentistry and sleep apnea care. If she notices that your child is showing signs of sleep apnea, she’ll ensure they get to proper diagnosis and treatment that they deserve. We recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Iregui today to help you sleep better tomorrow.