About 10-12 percent of children snore regularly. Snoring is caused when the airflow through the mouth and nose is physically blocked in some way. The volume of the snoring is affected by how much air is passing through and how fast the throat tissue is vibrating.
For an otherwise healthy child, loud and regular snoring is abnormal. Sometimes it can be a sign of respiratory infection, an allergy or stuffy nose; other times it may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If your child is snoring at least 3 times a week and is associated with any of the following symptoms or signs, he/she may have OSA:
- Labored breathing
- Gasps/snorting noises or high inspiratory squeaking sounds/ observed episodes of apnea
- Headaches on awakening
- Daytime sleepiness
- Learning problems such as ADD or ADHD
- Mouth breathing
Enlarged tonsils are often the cause of snoring in most children, because they are much larger in comparison to the size of the throat. Obesity also increases the risk of OSA. Fat forms around the throat causing it to constrict, and fat in the stomach can prevent the diaphragm from functioning properly.
If you are concerned for your child or think he/she is a possible candidate for OSA, physical examinations can determine if further testing is necessary. However, an overnight in-laboratory polysomnography is preferred.
Please contact Alaska Sleep Clinic to schedule an appointment with our Pediatric Sleep Specialists today.