Sleep apnea is much more common among children than many people realize. This dangerous condition impacts approximately 1-4% of children, and is most commonly found in children between the ages of 2 and 8.
As with adults, undiagnosed sleep apnea in children can result in an increased risk of serious health conditions, including:
- Learning disabilities
- Behavior problems
- Developmental problems
- Failure to grow
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
In addition, many children with sleep apnea experience a loss of productivity in school and have difficulty with interpersonal relationships.
Due to the serious risks associated with the condition, it is crucial that your child be accurately diagnosed as soon as possible. The most common sleep apnea symptoms experienced by children are snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep. Other symptoms may include:
- Nocturnal snorting
- Heavy irregular breathing
- Restless sleep
- Severe bedwetting
- Night terrors
- Excessive perspiring while sleeping
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth when they wake up in the morning
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Fleschler at once. She can perform a sleep test, called a polysomnography, in order accurately determine whether your child has sleep apnea. These tests measure brain wave function, muscle tension, oxygen levels in the blood, and eye movement while sleeping. You can either have your child’s polysomnography performed at a sleep institute or with a home monitoring device.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea in children is having their tonsils or adenoids removed. If this does not correct the condition, Dr. Fleschler may recommond CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a device that uses a mask to push air into your child’s airway in order to keep it open during sleep.
If you believe your child may suffer from sleep apnea, please contact Dr. Heather Fleschler today to schedule a sleep evaluation. We serve patients in the River Oaks, West University, Meyerland, and Bellaire areas of Houston, Texas.