Posted on 5/31/2016
Sleep apnea is more commonly associated with older adults, but it can also
occur in children. This serious sleep disorder is characterized by the
cyclical stopping and restarting of breathing during sleep. The low oxygen
levels that result can have severe health effects. If you suspect your
child may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you can visit a
children’s hospital to discuss your concerns with a specialist in
pediatrics. The providers at
Sunrise Children’s Hospital welcome inquiries from concerned parents. Our children’s hospital
also encourages parents of sleep disordered children to watch this featured
video, which explains the different types of sleep apnea.
Identifying the Signs
Children and adults with sleep apnea may display frequent, loud snoring.
This may be accompanied by gasping, snorting, or choking noises made intermittently
throughout the night. Parents may have trouble rousing their children
from sleep. During the day, the child may appear unusually fatigued, complain
of a headache, or have a poor attention span. Some kids with sleep apnea
may regularly breathe through the mouth or display a nasal voice.
Understanding the Possible Complications
It’s important to treat sleep apnea because it may lead to additional
complications. For children, these complications can include poor academic
progress at school, challenging behavioral issues, irritability, and hyperactivity.
Additionally, untreated sleep apnea is associated with weight gain, cardiovascular
disease, depression, and anxiety.
Exploring the Treatment Options
If your child’s pediatrician suspects that he or she may have sleep
apnea, the doctor may refer your child for a sleep study. If the sleep
study confirms the diagnosis, the treatment options will depend on upon
the cause of the problem. For example, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in
children may be caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. In this case,
surgical removal of these structures can help. A surgeon may also need
to remove nasal polyps, straighten a deviated septum, or correct deformities
of the face or jaw. In other cases, children may need to use a child-sized
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device while they sleep.
Sunrise Children’s Hospital is a leading provider of pediatric care
for families throughout the Las Vegas area. At our children’s hospital,
you’ll find a range of
surgical services, children’s emergency care, diagnostics, and much more. Parents
can request a referral to a doctor at our children’s hospital by
calling (702) 233-5437.