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.