Don't jump to the conclusion that your child has sleep apnea if she/he snores, though; 1 to 3 percent of children have sleep apnea, while 7 to 12 percent of children snore.
However, you should be suspicious if your child breathes through his/her mouth most of the time (both at night and during the day), is a restless sleeper, sweats profusely before he sleeps or coughs or chokes at night.
Combined with any of the above symptoms, repeated night-waking can be a sign of OSA. Because children with sleep apnea have trouble breathing, they may stir more often, waking up to get the air they need.
If your child shows any of the above symptoms talk to your doctor. Your doctor might refer you to a sleep specialist or recommend a sleep study.
A sleep study allows doctors check for OSA and record a variety of body functions while a child is asleep.
During a sleep study, doctors monitor:
· Eye movements
· Heart rate
· Breathing pattern
· Brain waves
· Blood oxygen level
· Snoring and other noises
· Body movements and sleep positions
TREATMENT FOR SLEEP APNEA IN CHILDREN
· Because enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids are the most common cause of sleep apnea for children, having surgery to remove the tissues often corrects the symptoms of sleep apnea in 90% of cases. The doctor will refer your child to an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).
· Oral/Dental appliances may be recommended for older children whose facial bone growth is mostly complete.
· Allergy medications may be recommended if seasonal allergies cause or aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea.
· If seasonal allergies cause or aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea, allergy medications are recommended.
· If respiratory disorders contribute to sleep apnea, asthma medications or inhalers can help.