Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a breathing disorder that is more commonly known to effect adults (more than 18 million in the US including Alaska). Sleep Disordered Breathing is also causing problems in 12% of children, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Often running in families it is most commonly seen in kids with enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, which are the lymph nodes in the throat. Obesity is often a factor as well.
OSA occurs in children when breathing temporarily pauses for longer than two breath cycles in children and it can happen up to 70 times an hour. As a result, oxygen levels in the blood drop and the body responds as if it is choking.
If you think your child might have OSA, keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Frequent snoring (> 3 times per week) is considered abnormal in children
- Mouth breathing during sleep
- Pauses in breathing, gasping, and choking or even snorts.
- Labored breathing during sleep
- Sleeping in unusual positions such as hyperextended neck
- Excessive sweating during sleep due to the strain of trying to breathe
- Difficulty waking up in the morning and daytime sleepiness
- Behavioral problems including irritability, hyperactivity, and difficulty concentrating
If you are concerned about your child’s sleep patterns it is important to contact a Board Certified Sleep Specialist at an Accredited Sleep Disorders Center by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).