Mother holding sad boy against her shoulder

Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

February 31, 2019

Protect Them Now so that They Can Succeed Later

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that requires immediate attention. Thankfully, awareness for the disorder is growing, and more people are spotting the symptoms and seeking the appropriate professional help. However, there’s one group of sufferers who commonly get forgotten—children.

If your child suffers from sleep apnea, it’s incredibly likely that they’re struggling with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a form of sleep apnea where an obstruction in the airway restricts breathing function during sleep. This lack of breath causes a significant drop in blood oxygen levels, which can lead to dangerous health complications including weakened heart function and brain damage.

When your child lives with untreated OSA, their development and well-being are at risk. It can make them irritable during the day and act out sporadically. Regrettably, medical professionals commonly misdiagnose obstructive sleep apnea in children as ADHD. However, studies have noticed a correlation between the two conditions.

Spotting the Signs of OSA in Your Child

When we diagnose children with OSA, they have many of the same symptoms as adults—loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime drowsiness. Moreover, you may witness your child cycle through periods of silence trailed by loud gasping noises. Other OSA symptoms commonly found in children are:

  • Poor attention span
  • Bed-wetting
  • Sleepwalking
  • Night-sweats
  • Academic & behavioral issues
  • Weight gain
  • Mouth breathing while sleeping

What Causes OSA in Children?

Sleep apnea in children is typically connected to developmental issues. If your child’s tongue, tonsils, jaw, or any other area of their oral structure is too large or too small, it can be accountable for their obstructive sleep apnea.

Furthermore, children with OSA often have enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these cases, Dr. Simmons might recommend surgery. Another common cause of OSA in children is being overweight.

Treating Your Child’s Sleep Apnea

Naturally, dentists like Dr. Simmons are often the first medical professionals to notice a developmental issue in your child that can lead to sleep apnea. Dentists specialize in the oral structure, including the airway, which is where OSA occurs.

Dr. Simmons at the Encino Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders is a qualified sleep dentist and will make sure your child gets the diagnosis and treatment that they deserve. If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep, contact our office at 818-300-0070.

Man snoring, woman covering ears with pillow