What can be done, what do you need to know so you can actively be of help, realizing these conditions are potentially dangerous. Don’t underestimate how much you can help your child have a better life and reach their dynamic, energetic potential. In adults snoring and apnea have even more serious consequences both personally and medically and have been the cause of stroke and shortening of life.
Before we go into sleep apnea and snoring further there is good news where we can help.
To assist with the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea a snoring pillow has been developed after years of research.
The pillow is randomly called a Sleep Apnea Pillow, a Snoring Pillow or a CPAP pillow. Whatever your need, it is designed to provide “an unimpeded breathing environment for increased air flow”, helping open the breathing ‘tube’ of the throat and unobstructed airflow to the nose and mouth.
Remember this to help your child or someone you know. Medical assistance and advice should also be obtained.
Now let’s discuss childhood snoring and childhood apnea.
How are snoring and sleep apnea related?
A child with sleep apnea will almost always snore. They struggle to breathe and don’t sleep well. There are often pauses in breathing which may end with a gasping sound. Often the child struggles to breathe and they may wake up briefly. The more interrupted the sleep the lesser quality of sleep, resulting in a tired child who struggles to keep up during the day.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is when a child stops breathing when they sleep. Each time this occurs it can last from 10 seconds to a minute and is generally associated with the airways being blocked. In a child the most common cause is enlarged tonsils and adenoids. They call this Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A much less common type of apnea is Central Sleep Apnea which results from the way the brain controls breathing.
What are the consequences of sleep apnea during the day?
Infants may not feed well, fail to gain weight and be developmentally delayed. Older children may be hyperactive, aggressive, have trouble learning and/or not being able to focus. Being tired during the day may cause personality changes, not performing at school and social issues. A child with sleep apnea may lag behind in many areas of development. If sleep apnea is not treated it may result in heart problems and high blood pressure.
Tonsils and Adenoids
In a child, the most common cause of snoring and sleep apnea are large tonsils and adenoids. As mentioned being overweight can play a part. Other risk factors include the shape of the skull and the size of the tongue.
How do you diagnose sleep apnea?
A health practitioner may suspect sleep apnea if they see large tonsils and adenoids. Symptoms such as snoring, feeling sleepy and possibly having episodes of interrupted breathing. The only way to be sure is with a Sleep Study. The child is connected to a computer which measures sleep, breathing and oxygen levels. Armed with the right facts, mums and dads can move forward with their decisions of what to do next.
How is sleep apnea treated?
If it is due to the size of the tonsils or adenoids normally the Doctor will take them out. In many cases this may cure the sleep apnea. Another reason may be an abnormality of the facial bones which may also require surgery. If surgery is not the answer the best treatment is probably CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This is provided by a small pump that pumps air through a mask work over the nose. It is used at night and the treatment works straight away. Most children respond with CPAP. If sleep apnea is because of the child’s weight, weight loss will generally help or even cure apnea.
Can drugs be used to treat it?
The short answer is No.