Pediatric Sleep Apnea
Pediatric sleep apnea, also known as Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a condition in which there is an obstruction in the airway passage during sleep, resulting in pauses in breathing. Since children do not wake up as frequently as adults, it often goes unnoticed and can be difficult to diagnose. Sleep apnea in children may give rise to complications like headache, attention, memory and concentration issues at school, behavioral problems, poor growth, high blood pressure and even problems relating to lung or heart.
Children with medical conditions like Down’s syndrome have been found to be at a greater risk for developing sleep apnea. Other known abnormalities associated with childhood sleep apnea are central nervous system and neuromuscular abnormalities, Treacher Collins syndrome, Pierre Robin sequence and other disorders with craniofacial abnormalities.
Children with pediatric sleep apnea may demonstrate the following symptoms:
- Loud and continous snoring
- Weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Breathing through the mouth
- Excessively sleepy during the daytime
- Enlarged tonsils
- Learning problems
- Behavior issues
- Poor attention span
- Hyperactivity and aggression
Sleep apnea treatment varies depending upon the severity and cause of the disorder. In some instances, sleep apnea can be corrected by making a few lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or changing sleeping positions.
In cases where the sleep apnea is a result of enlarged tonsils or adenoids, your physician may recommend surgery to alleviate the problem. Common surgical procedures for the treatment of sleep apnea include removing the tonsils and/or adenoids. Severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea resulting from craniofacial abnormalities may require reconstruction of jaw in order to enlarge upper airway.
Physicians on the medical staff at the Pediatric Sleep Institute, a department of Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery, will provide necessary information for your physician to accurately detect, diagnose and treat your child’s sleep apnea disorder.