Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing frequently throughout the night because of a blockage in the airway. Many people believe it’s a disoder that primarily affects adults; however, children can have sleep apnea in Topeka as well. Unfortunately, their symptoms might not always be obvious, allowing the condition to go undiagnosed and untreated and affect your child’s health, development, and overall well-being. Here’s what you need to know to help your child breathe easier.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Researchers believe 1-4% of children in the United States have the sleep disorder. For children with obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in the back of the throat or tongue collapse to block the airway. This causes interruptions in breathing with each event lasting potentially for a minute or longer.
The pauses in breathing cause a decrease in oxygen in the blood and place strain on the heart. Not to mention, it can be impossible to achieve good sleep quality.
What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea in Children?
The symptoms of sleep apnea in children differ from adults, which can make it difficult to detect. The most common signs of the sleep disorder in small children include:
- Loud snoring
- Coughing or choking while sleeping
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep terrors
- Interruptions in breathing
- Sleeping in unusual positions
- Difficult waking in the morning
- Falling asleep during the day
- Behavioral issues, like emptional outbursts
What Causes Sleep Apnea in Children?
Sleep apnea in children is usually caused by an underlying issue, like enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Children who have a family history, are obese, or have certain medical conditions, like severe allergies, are at a higher risk of the sleep disorder.
How is Sleep Apnea in Children Treated?
A sleep dentist in Topeka can find the underlying cause of the condition after referring them for a sleep study. Based on the results, a customized treatment plan can be created, which may include several approaches to help your child breathe easier. In some cases, topical nasal steroids can be recommended to relieve nasal congestion. A healthy lifestyle can also reduce symptoms of the condition.
A CPAP might also be recommended, which is a machine that delivers a stream of air through a mask worn over the nose. While it is effective, children might not be compliant because it can be uncomfortable. As an alternative, an oral appliance can be used. The custom-fit device repositions the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open.
If your child is struggling to get the rest they need, their dentist can help them breathe better using a treatment plan catering to their specific needs.
About Dr. Michael E. Michel
Dr. Michael E. Michel utilizes the latest treatments and technologies to help patients of all ages overcome the symptoms of sleep apnea, including children. He’s undergone advanced training to offer alternatives to a CPAP therapy, like an oral appliance therapy. If your child has sleep apnea, he has the solutions they need to ensure their health, wellness, and development. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.