Sleep disorder is a condition where the affected individual experiences interrupted breathing during sleep.
It may sound incredible that sleep disorder also called sleep apnea occur in children, but that is the fact. It is established that adults experience a range of health challenges, from sleep disorder to hypertension, and so on. However, kids too do have their peculiar health conditions, but which are mostly ignored by parents..
It may sound surprising, but around 3% kids of preschool age are victims of obstructive sleep apnea. It is a type of sleep disorder that is usually thought to affect adults and older individuals. Here we help you decode the basics of sleep apnea in kids, their signs and symptoms, and solutions.
Different kinds of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
It is the most common form of the disease and is usually caused due to physical blockage of the airway, which makes it more difficult for your kid to breathe properly. Normally large tonsils and adenoids are blamed for causing obstructive sleep apnea in children.
- Central Sleep Apnea:
In this central sleep apnea in children, the brain doesn’t function properly and does not ‘tell’ all the muscles involved in the breathing process to carry out its functions.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea:
Individuals affected by mixed sleep apnea suffer from a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea in children.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
Here are some common signs and symptoms that may point out to the possibility of your kid being affected by sleep apnea.
- Problems in school
- Attention problems
- Gasping for air
- Sleepiness during daytime
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Noisy breathing during sleep
- Sleeping in strange positions
- Restlessness during sleep
- Tackling Sleep Apnea:
It is also believed that obstructive sleep apnea may affect cognitive functioning and behaviour in children, which is why, it needs to be evaluated early. If you observe your kid is being affected by the symptoms listed above, and if you’re in doubt that he may be affected by the condition, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.
The first step is to examine your child’s sleep habits and note any irregularities or peculiar aspects. Report them to your doctor to help him make the correct diagnosis. Your doctor may conduct a test known as polysomnogram, which is the standard test to detect sleep apnea. This test is designed to monitor the oxygen levels in blood, eye movement, breathing and brain waves.
If your kid is obese, your doctor may suggest following a healthy diet and exercising to lose weight as a treatment for sleep apnea. In 90% of cases, patients are relieved of their condition by the removal of tonsils and adenoids.
It is important to note that sleep apnea, just like other health conditions, should not be ignored and left untreated as they could hamper the growth and development of your child. Also, delayed treatment in sleep apnea affected children is thought to be linked to many severe health conditions like high blood pressure and heart problems.