When you hear sleep apnea, you probably think it is a grown up problem, but sadly an increasing number of young children and teens are diagnosed with sleep apnea each year. To date, it is estimated that as much as 10 percent of children snore, and four percent of those suffer from sleep apnea.
In sleep apnea, the airway is blocked. In children, a common culprit is swelling of the tonsils. For sleep apnea to be diagnosed, it generally requires more than just occasional snoring. The key factor the differentiates between snoring and sleep apnea is that sleep apnea causes an interruption in breathing, typically a pause that lasts between a few seconds to a half a minute, that may or may not wake the child from slumber.
Sleep apnea is a growing problem for children and teens, and is often related to obesity. Children with high BMI scores are more prone to obstructive sleep apnea, much the same as overweight adults.
The disruption that sleep apnea causes goes further than just sleep, as new studies have shown a possible link between daytime behavioral issues and ADHD symptoms and sleep apnea.
If your child snores regularly, consider using a cell phone or video camera to record your child’s sleep behavior. This can help a specialist diagnose the problem. If your child suffers from regular snoring, call Atlanta ENT to schedule a consultation today.
Ramie Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT