Children And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted on: 12 October 2016

Sleep apnea effects people without prejudice, impacting children just as easily as it does adults. Consequently, for a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, this can be a troubling reality to embrace.

Interpreting A Diagnosis

If you have received a diagnosis for your child, you are already on the right path. However, understanding the specifics of a diagnosis can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when it comes to the apnea rating; such as mild, moderate and severe. There is a great deal of medical jargon that goes into distinguishing these categories.

However, at the core of this distinction is just how much of an interference sleep apnea is having on your child's ability to sleep. An individual with mild obstructive apnea experiences no more than 14 sleep interruptions within an hour, a moderate rating will accompany 15 to 30 interruptions and a severe diagnosis will be assigned when there are 30 or more interruptions per hour of sleep.

Treatment Options

For pediatric patients, one of the more common treatment methods is an adenotonsillectomy procedure, which includes the removal of both the tonsils and adenoids. By removing these obstructions, this increases flow within the airway. Children that undergo this procedure often experience more restful sleep and eliminate whatever bouts they are having with snoring.

It is important to understand that this procedure is not necessarily the standard. A child with obstructive sleep apnea might also undergo drug therapy or dietary restrictions to deal with this issue.

Risk Factors

If your child has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it is imperative that you take action. Untreated sleep apnea can affect a child in a number of different ways. When a child does not get a good night's rest, they may struggle to stay awake at school, leading to a declined academic performance.

Children who suffer from this condition might also have behavioral concerns or experience frequent headaches in the morning due to their lack of restful sleep. All of these concerns can have a significant impact on a child's home, school and social life. It's imperative that parents be proactive to eliminate these issues.   

If your child has been diagnosed with obtrusive sleep apnea and you are apprehensive about treatment, it's important that you speak with your child's ENT specialist. Speak with a provider to get to the bottom of your concerns to protect your child.