Sleep Apnea Treatment
Does Your Child Have Sleep Apnea?
Although obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is found more commonly in adults, it can still affect young children. The sleep disorder typically affects children between the ages of two and eight, with snoring being one of the main symptoms.
Sometimes, pediatric OSA can be difficult to identify because children may not always recognize their own symptoms. If you suspect your child is suffering from sleep apnea, being aware of the warning signs is crucial for getting them the right treatment. Dr. Hobbs can help you understand what OSA in children is like and how to respond.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders in Children
Looking out for changes in your child’s behavior or sleep pattern can be the first step to discovering if they suffer from OSA. Symptoms of OSA in children include:
- Habitual snoring, gasping or snorting noises during sleep
- Heavy breathing at night
- Sleepwalking and bedwetting
- Daytime sleepiness and behavioral problems
- Anger problems and irritability
- Lack of focus or hyperactivity
If you find that your child exhibits some of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician who specializes in sleep disorders. They can provide your child with a sleep study, which is proven to be the most accurate method of diagnosing conditions like sleep apnea.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious health issues including heart problems and issues with cognitive performance.
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and ADHD
OSA found in children has been shown to affect their development and learning abilities at school the most. This is due to the lack of quality sleep they’re receiving at night and how it reflects on their daytime performance.
During the day, your child may have trouble concentrating in school, exhibit bad behaviors, or experience mood swings. These similar daytime symptoms are often recognized as a sign of ADHD, but doctors are later finding out these children actually have sleep apnea.
Oftentimes, children who are prescribed ADHD medication are still experiencing drowsiness during the day and low energy overall. This means they aren’t receiving proper treatment and a sleep study is necessary in order to confirm their condition.
If you feel your child has been misdiagnosed with ADHD or has yet to be identified with OSA at all, it can lead to detrimental health complications. We recommend seeking a sleep study in order to receive a proper medical diagnosis.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Visiting a sleep pediatrician to conduct a sleep study is the first step to a healthier, more energized life for your child. If they’re officially diagnosed with OSA, their doctor may prescribe medications or refer you to an ENT doctor to remove their tonsils and adenoids if that’s what’s causing their interrupted breathing.
The most popular treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP blows continuous air through a mask to clear the obstruction in your child’s throat. However, there are drawbacks from using this device that prevents patients from getting the sleep they need.
Oral appliances are an alternative that provides ultimate comfort and ease for your child. Unlike CPAP, oral appliance therapy is silent, comfortable, and easily portable so your child can get the best sleep possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a sleep study look like?
Depending on your child, a sleep study can be completed in a special lab or at home. This is a noninvasive, overnight diagnostic study that allows doctors to monitor several indicators and see what goes on while you sleep. Sensitive equipment is used to track brain wave patterns, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing, and more to diagnose sleep disorders.
Will sleep apnea go away once my child grows up?
Children who are diagnosed with sleep apnea may outgrow the condition. However, if left untreated, it can contribute to behavioral problems and serious health issues such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
How can treating sleep apnea benefit my child?
Suffering from sleep apnea causes poor sleep night after night, which can interfere with your child’s behavior during the day. Treating sleep apnea can benefit your child in numerous ways.
It can support both mental and physical health including:
- Getting quality sleep
- Reaching optimal height and weight
- Combating childhood obesity
- Subsides headaches and fatigue
Get Your Child the Help They Need
If you suspect your child may have sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hobbs by calling our Longview dental office at (903) 686-9076. Dr. Hobbs will make sure that your child gets the correct diagnosis and proper treatment they need.