Sleep Apnea in Children

Sleep Apnea in Children

Does your child snore? Does he/she constantly toss and turn so much at night? Does he/she constantly appear sleepy during the day? If you answer YES to these, then your child may be suffering from sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which the child has brief pauses in breathing while sleeping.

This condition affects about 1 to 4 percent of children in the United States. Although it can affect children at any age, this is usually seen in kids between the ages of 2 and 8.

What causes it?

Obstructive sleep apnea in children can be brought about by obesity and enlarged tonsils or adenoids. These extra tissues can partially or totally block the airway.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The following are the common symptoms of sleep apnea in children

  • Loud snoring at night
  • Mouth breathing
  • Coughing or choking at night
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleeping in odd positions 
  • Bedwetting

Sleep apnea can disrupt a child’s sleep. Hence, you may notice the following during the daytime:

  • Fatigue
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning 

Is there a treatment for sleep apnea in children?

Some children outgrow sleep apnea. So, the doctor may monitor the condition for a while.

In some cases, topical nasal steroids may be prescribed to relieve nasal congestion.

If obesity contributes to sleep apnea, lifestyle changes will most likely be recommended. For obstructive sleep apnea caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, surgery may be needed

When sleep apnea doesn’t improve with the aforementioned treatment options, your child may need continuous positive airway pressure therapy or CPAP. 

With CPAP, your child will wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose while he/she sleeps. A machine will provide a continuous flow of air to keep their airway open.

If you suspect that your child suffers from sleep apnea, our specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT can help. You can schedule an appointment by calling (865) 244-4396.



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