Sleep apnea in children

When you think of people with sleep apnea, it’s easy to stereotype the overweight, middle aged man as the perfect sleep apnea candidate. But have you ever thought of who else this could affect?

Sleep apnea in children, while not as common, it is something that occurs more often than you think. Often, it starts with snoring: one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. But the place where many parents become concerned is when a child is visibly struggling to breathe as they are sleeping. If your child is making a choking or gasping sound in their sleep, this is where it becomes problematic. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children with sleep apnea may also come across as very tired and exhausted throughout the daytime. It could also contribute to behavioural problems at school for some children.

For many parents who have a child with sleep apnea, there are many questions and apprehensions. How could this have happened? I thought only adults get sleep apnea? Well there are a number of factors that can contribute to sleep apnea in children. This includes their family history, being overweight, having existing health problems, enlarged tonsils or defects in the airway that have the potential to cause a blockage.

As overwhelming as it may be for everyone involved, it is important to try and stay positive, and remember that sleep apnea IS treatable. Many children with sleep apnea use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask to help them breathe normally when they sleep at night. Doctors may also recommend some lifestyle changes for children, including exercise and diet changes. It is also common for doctors to remove a child’s tonsils to help alleviate the sleep apnea.

Sleep is vital to a growing child’s health, so this is something that should never be ignored. Your doctor will no doubt be your best resource for any concerns you may have. Be sure to seek out help from your pediatrician if you think your child has sleep apnea.

Download the FREE Beginners Guide to Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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