Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, and occurs when an object of some sort is blocking your airway while you sleep, resulting in restricted breathing, or loss of breath altogether. Obstructive sleep apnea is potentially very dangerous, and many kids that suffer from this disorder are left untreated, leading to future health and behavior problems. Below are the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, and how you can treat this condition to ensure your child a safe, restful night’s sleep.
There are many signs of obstructive sleep apnea that occur while your child is sleeping. The most common and obvious sign that your child may possibly suffer from this condition is snoring while they sleep. If you notice this sign, it is important to look for other possible signs of obstructive sleep apnea like:
- Snoring combined with snorts, pauses and gasps
- Unusual sleeping positions associated with restless sleep
- Heavy breathing during sleep
These are all signs that are shown during your child’s sleep that point to the conclusion that your child may have obstructive sleep apnea. If you notice these signs, it’s important that you visit a physician for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
There are symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that occur when your child is not sleeping due to their lack of quality sleep. In the mornings, you child may experience a throatache or headache, due to restricted breathing. During the day your child may seem excessively tired, and possibly fall asleep at unacceptable times.
There are other issues linked to obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, it was found that children with this condition are more likely to be diagnosed with other attention and behavioral issues like ADHD due to fatigue, which affects their ability to focus. They are also more likely to suffer from depression.
Lack of Growth
Physically, children that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are usually smaller than their peers. This is because children do most of their growing in their sleep, and frequent interrupted sleep means that your child will not benefit from growth hormones that are released during sleep.
There are many health and physical symptoms that are a result of obstructive sleep apnea, and if you notice your child is suffering from one or more of these symptoms, it is important to receive medical attention to diagnose your child and seek treatment.
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of a blockage of the airway. This is usually a result of enlarged glands or tongue. There are surgical treatments to obstructive sleep apnea, but there are also non-surgical treatments that are readily available and easy to use.
Mandibular Advancement Device: this device looks and works similar to a mouth guard. It works by gently forcing the lower jaw down and forward, which forces the airway to stay open while your child sleeps. Learn more.
Tongue Retaining Device: this device works by splinting the tongue and keeping it locked in place while your child sleeps. This prevents an enlarged tongue from rolling back and blocking the airway. Learn more.
If you have questions about your child’s sleeping habits and believe they may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas to set up an appointment with our experienced dentists. We want to help your child sleep peacefully through the night.