Sleep apnea is more commonly observed in adults, but children may also deal with this condition. As a parent, it’s important to find out if it’s really sleep apnea or not since he may not realize it. Besides, sleep apnea in children usually requires a different approach from the adult population.
Symptoms of sleep apnea in kids
There are a few things parents should notice. The first one is the sound of choking during sleep. Although this may not indicate apnea, it should be a cause for concern especially when other apnea-related symptoms are also present. Pay attention to how he positions his head while sleeping.
If he sleeps on his back and his head is slightly tilted back, this could be the reason why the muscles relax and trigger the sound. Another subtle sign is hyperactivity. If you notice an unusual behavior from your child that he had rarely shown before, it could probably happen because he was restless while asleep.
How sleep apnea occurs
Sleep apnea in kids is caused by a blockage in the airways. Some kids are born with an unusually big tonsil which could prevent air from passing effortlessly through the respiratory tract. Another possible cause is there’s fatty tissue somewhere in that area which results in the blockage. How does this condition affect a child? Sleep apnea often forces the patient to wake up abruptly, not just once but a couple of times in an hour. The restlessness can drain energy and affect his behavior during the day.
Treatment will be given in correspond to the cause. There are some other factors that the doctor will use as a basis for the treatment, including his general health and severity of the problem. Surgery could be advised if sleep apnea is caused by enlarged tonsils. Please consult the doctor to know all the risks associated with this treatment.
Another treatment that could be provided is a diet. This is beneficial if the issue is related to being overweight. Many adults who experience sleep apnea happen to be obese. Basically, the two are closely related. So if your child’s weight is above normal, losing some will likely benefit him. Not only the sleep apnea, but his general health will also improve when he can achieve maintain a healthy weight. Another treatment choice available is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).
This treatment requires the use of a mask that delivers continuous pressurized air to keep the breathing airways open. He should wear the mask whenever he’s about to sleep. It could get uncomfortable at first because he needs to learn how to stay still during sleep. However, he will get accustomed to it as time goes by.