Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Understanding the Risks of Sleep Apnea, Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Children


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the interrupted breathing associated with other sleep disorders can contribute to a number of problems in children, from difficulty focusing in school to behavioral changes to an increased risk for health conditions including hypertension.

Although scientists and physicians are still developing an understanding of sleep apnea causes and effects in children, a recent Finnish study shed some light on the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in children as well as risk factors that may contribute to the development of OSA and other sleep disorders.

Researchers in Finland analyzed sleep-disordered breathing in 491 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 8. Their findings were published in the December 2012 issue of the European Journal of Pediatrics and include:

  • Nearly 10 percent of the children experienced sleep-disordered breathing; the rate was the same for both boys and girls
  • Approximately 11 percent of the boys and nearly 16 percent of the girls were overweight, although body fat was not associated with an increased risk for sleep-disordered breathing in the study
  • Children with enlarged tonsils were nearly 4 times more likely to suffer from sleep-disordered breathing
  • Children with the malocclusion crossbite were more than 3 times more likely to experience sleep-disordered breathing

You should consider a consultation with a dentist who has experience in the field of dental sleep medicine if your child exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Snores regularly
  • Breathes through his or her mouth when sleeping
  • Periodically stops breathing during sleep
  • Wakes up choking or gasping for air
  • Experiences chronic daytime drowsiness

Most children with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders experience multiple symptoms, and those symptoms will vary based on a number of individual factors. For more information about signs that your child may have OSA or another sleep disorder, please see our Sleep Apnea Symptoms page.

Fortunately, there are a number of comfortable and effective sleep apnea treatments available for children and adults. Many patients are able to restore restful sleep with the use of custom-made oral appliances. Your sleep dentist can help you determine the best treatment for your unique needs.

If your child snores or suffers from other symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

posted by Steve at 1:34 PM