Sleep Apnea: Children Suffer From It Too!
It seems our children should be exempt from some of the health conditions we adult may suffer from. They need to grow up without having to deal with health issues. Unfortunately we donít get to choose, and children develop many different disorders and illnesses that can create many problems for them.
Sleep is essential for all people but it is especially critical for children. With their bodies constantly growing and changing they need to have adequate rest in order for it all to happen in the best way possible. When children develop sleep disorders it can be very hard on their little bodies.
Sleep apnea in children is manifest in much the same way it is for adults. There is snoring and sometimes snorting or gasping for breath during sleep and periods of no breathing at all. This is usually caused by obstruction of the airway during sleep.
Treatment of sleep apnea children is similar to what is done for adults. Most of the methods are completely safe and work well for kids. Changing sleeping position is one important thing that gives the child the best possibility of maintaining a clear airway. Sleep pillows can help to keep the child in the proper position comfortably.
As with adults, obesity is often a contributor to sleep apnea. The increased fat on the neck makes the area constrict more easily. For this reason and many others it is a good idea to work with your child toward the goal of losing weight in a healthy way.
Of course a CPAP machine is also commonly used. This stand for continuous positive airway pressure and the device works by providing air pressure which keeps the airway open. For treatment this device is used during the night while sleeping.
It can be difficult for a child to get used to sleeping with a mask over their nose and mouth, but also like adults, they can get used to it and benefit from the results.
Sometimes surgery to remove the adenoids or tonsils can help to open up the airway making it easier to breathe well during the night. Other surgeries specific to sleep apnea are not recommended until the other options have been explored and do not seem to be working.
If your child does not seem to feel rested and is sleepy during the day and you have noticed that she snores, you should consider having her tested for a sleep disorder. The sooner you get a diagnosis the sooner you can start treating the disorder.
The most important reason to start treatment soon is to prevent the child from dealing with some of the longer term complications of sleep apnea. These include hypertension, stroke, heart attack and even premature death. Those are things you donít want your child to deal with, so getting a diagnosis and starting treatment is essential.
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