standard-title Sleep Apnea in Children

Sleep Apnea in Children

It is one thing for adults to suffer from sleep apnea, but what about our children? Children can develop sleep apnea, but the difference is it is more harmful to children than adults. This is because children have smaller lungs, which means they have less oxygen in reserve. As a result, children take frequent, shallow breaths rather than slow, deep breaths—it causes too much carbon dioxide in the blood.

Adults may suffer from fragmented sleep where they briefly wake up after breathing stops, while children don’t do that. When this occurs, children do not wake up in response to the pauses in breathing, but have a higher “arousal threshold” than adults, so their sleep patterns are normal with sleep apnea. To help children with sleep apnea in Scottsdale, Dr. Sara Vizcarra and her team can provide proper treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

A child with sleep apnea might experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring on a regular basis
  • Pauses, gasps, snorts and stoppage of breathing
  • Waking or disruptions due to snorts or gasps
  • Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in an unusual position
  • Sweat heavily during sleep

If a child suffers from sleep apnea in Scottsdale, they might also experience quite a bit of symptoms throughout the day while they are awake, including:

  • Behavioral, school and social problems
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Have headaches during the day, especially morning
  • Be irritable, agitated, aggressive and cranky
  • So sleepy during the day they actually fall asleep or daydream
  • Speak with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth

 

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The Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea in children is associated with quite a few specific causes, including the following:

  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Abnormality in the physical structure of the face or jaw
  • Medical and neurological conditions

However, the most common physical problem associated with sleep apnea in children is large tonsils. Peaking at five to seven years of age, young children often have quite large tonsils in comparison to the throat, which can cause a blockage of the airway resulting in breathing difficulty and sleep apnea.

If you suspect your child might have symptoms of sleep apnea in Scottsdale, Dr. VIzcarra of AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions can offer help and guidance so your child can get a better night’s sleep.