Sleep apnea in children

Sleep apnea in children

Sleep apnea is a respiratory condition that can prove dangerous to your child's health. It is characterized by the repeated interruption of breathing during sleep. There are several types of apnea, but the most common in children is obstructive sleep apnea. Here are the causes, the risks to the health, but also the appropriate treatment to ensure your child a restful and restful sleep!

Causes of sleep apnea in children

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by blocking the airway of the child. The blockage is most often caused by a medical condition that prevents sufficient air from entering the lungs during breathing.

Nasal tonsils and polyps are considered the main factors favoring the appearance of sleep apnea in children. If they are slightly wider, they can intervene in the correct breathing of the little one.

Between 3-6 years, the child has tonsils and polyps slightly larger than at maturity, which predisposes him to the appearance of this condition during sleep.

Obesity and other facial features (cleft palate, malformations) play an essential role in promoting the onset of respiratory distress.

The sick child with Down syndrome or other congenital malformations is more prone to obstructive sleep apnea than other children.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in children

Sleep apnea is a condition that comprises a complex symptomatic picture, which makes it quite difficult to diagnose, due to the similarity of many of the manifestations with other diseases.

The main signs in children are snoring or shortness of breath for several seconds (even minutes) during sleep. But not every child with these symptoms means they suffer from this respiratory condition.

Other symptoms after which you recognize obstructive sleep apnea in your child and who should send you to the doctor are, besides snoring:

  • mouth breathing during sleep;
  • constant cough at night;
  • frequent drowning at night;
  • sleep with problems (not resting properly, from where other symptoms may appear, such as irritability, apathy, frustration, etc.);
  • excessive night sweating.

In addition, if the disease is caused by polyps or tonsils, then their inflammation can be easily detected.

Complications of sleep apnea in children

If the apnea is ignored or left untreated, it can lead to serious complications for the child's health:

  • exhaustion (overwork);
  • growth and learning problems;
  • attention and concentration problems;
  • behavior problems;
  • hypertension;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • pulmonary diseases;
  • concentration problems.

Treatment of sleep apnea in children

The treatment of apnea is largely dependent on the cause that triggered it. Most often, surgical removal of the tonsils, polyps and other airway malformations can solve the problem.

But there are more serious cases, in which the child may be dependent on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. The child is dependent on a machine and a mask at night, which helps him breathe properly and inhale enough air. The pressure exerted will keep the airways clear, so that the air can flow easily through them. Some people remain dependent on this type of treatment for the rest of their lives.

If obesity is the basis of the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea, it is crucial to take urgent measures to return to a normal weight of the child. Weight reduction is essential not only to treat this condition, but also to prevent more health problems that can result from it - diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Did your child suffer from sleep apnea? How did you manage to identify it? What treatment worked? Share your opinions in the comments section below!

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