Prepare Your Child for Success
A good night’s rest is crucial for child development. Sleep can be restricted for many different reasons, including ADHD and sleep disorders. One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea, which currently affects 7% of adults and 1-10% of children. Fortunately, awareness of the disorder is growing, and more patients are noticing their symptoms and finding professional help.
If your child struggles to sleep at night, they may be suffering from sleep apnea. The majority of children with sleep disorders suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Those who suffer from OSA have an obstruction in their airway that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. When airflow is restricted, your blood oxygen levels drop which can cause severe health complications including shortness of breath and weakened heart function.
OSA can cause developmental and behavioral issues in your child, as well as adversely affecting their wellbeing. This sleep disorder can make them groggy, lazy, and irritable during the day. Unfortunately, medical professionals commonly misdiagnose OSA as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. However, recent studies may have found a link between the two conditions.
OSA Symptoms in Children
If your child gets an OSA diagnosis, they can show a lot of the same signs as adults: loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime drowsiness, among others. You may also recognize that your child cycles through periods of silence followed by daytime drowsiness. Other common symptoms of OSA in children are as follows:
- Excessive sweating
- Mouth breathing
- Poor attention span
- Academic & behavioral issues
- Weight gain
- Bed Wetting
Causes of Childhood Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is often linked to developmental issues in children. For example, if your child’s tongue is enlarged or too small, it can be responsible for their OSA. Abnormally sized jaws, tonsils, or any other part of their oral structure can be at fault as well.
Contrary to adults with OSA, children with OSA regularly suffer from enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these cases, surgery is often required. Additionally, being overweight is another contributor to sleep apnea development.
Treating Childhood Sleep Apnea
Dentists like Dr. Schumacher are frequently the first to identify a developmental issue that can result in sleep apnea because they specialize in the airway—where OSA occurs.
Dr. Schumacher at Desert Hills Dental Care is a qualified sleep dentist. If your child is showing signs of sleep apnea, he’ll ensure they get the diagnosis and treatment they deserve.
Sleep plays a vital role in the early stages of your child’s life. Set them up for success by scheduling a consultation with our Farmington, NM dentist, Dr. Schumacher.