Top Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea in Children

Sleep apnea is an obstructive disease that has the potential to interfere heavily with a patient’s sleep and health over time. For this reason, the condition should be avoided or treated as thoroughly as possible so as to avoid long-term health consequences. Below, we cover the top risk factors for sleep apnea in children.

Children also experience sleep apnea, though not as commonly as adults. Knowing what signs and signals there are to look for can help you recognize when this condition might be developing.

Top Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea in Children

If you’re worried that your child might be developing sleep apnea, here’s a list of risk factors that can impact whether or not they develop this condition.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects one’s breath during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea take pauses in between breaths or experience shallow breathing during sleep. These types of pauses can occur multiple times a night.

If sleep apnea becomes chronic, it can start to obstruct an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks due to having heavily impacted sleep. Because the disorder disrupts normal sleep, there are many possible long-term health consequences that can develop from letting this condition continue unaddressed. This is why seeking out sleep apnea treatment is somewhat essential.

The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a complex condition that carries many different symptoms. Not all cases of sleep apnea will have every single one of these symptoms.

  • Mouth breathing
  • Snorting, coughing, or choking
  • Nighttime sweats
  • Bed-wetting
  • Sleep terrors
  • Restless sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Snoring

All of these factors have the potential to impact a child’s sleep, which can trickle down into impacting their lives during the day. Some of the potential consequences of long-term sleep apnea include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor weight gain
  • Behavioral problems
  • Learning problems
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Performing poorly in school

You should try to make an appointment with your child’s health care professional if your child wakes up in the morning feeling tired or if you observe any of the above behavioral issues at play.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that can contribute to the development of sleep apnea in children. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Down syndrome
  • Birth defects (either in the skull or face)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Family history of obstructive sleep apnea
  • History of low birth weight
  • Cerebral palsy

The Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are many potential causes of sleep apnea. In grown adults, obesity is one of the most common contributors to the development of sleep apnea. This is more rarely the case in children.

In children, one of the most common causes of sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Another risk factor is the presence of neuromuscular disorders that can affect the way that muscles function in the body long term. Additionally, various types of birth defects can contribute to the development of sleep apnea.

Possible Complications

Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea can occasionally cause infants and young children to stop growing in very rare cases. In addition, children with obstructive sleep apnea may be at risk for developing a slew of very serious health risks later in life. This includes conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, and other cardiovascular issues.

In addition, children who have certain genetic conditions may find themselves at risk of sudden death when their conditions interact with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. However, these complications can also be managed with treatment.

Schedule a Consultation

Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea is a serious issue that shouldn’t be left unaddressed for long. Taking the initiative and scheduling a consultation for your child can mean the difference between good health and having to deal with an unknown level of health challenges in the future.

During your scheduled consultation, you and your child will discuss some of the symptoms they have been experiencing with your sleep specialist. This is the best time to give your doctor a strong idea of the exact nature of your condition.

From there, your physician will make a plan regarding treatment or schedule additional follow-up visits to discuss the possibility of further review of your child’s health. Overall, the more thorough this process, the higher chance of success at giving your child a healthy path forward

The Sleep Clinic of New York

Sleep MD NYC is completely dedicated to addressing the kinds of risk factors that can lead to the development of sleep apnea in children. If you’re interested in contacting a specialist to see how you can stay on top of this problem, contact Sleep MD today to schedule an appointment.

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