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Sleep Seminars Blog

How to Identify Sleep Apnea in Children

June 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — 21stsleep @ 7:03 pm

a young boy asleep on his side holding a teddy bear and breathing with his mouth openAs you continue to learn more about sleep apnea, you may be wondering if you should cater only to adults or children as well. While it might be easy to assume that both can be diagnosed and treated in the same way, you will discover that younger individuals often show different signs than adults, making it more difficult to discern that there is a problem. Spend some time learning how you can easily identify whether a child is suffering from sleep apnea. This will help you decide how best to approach each demographic.

What Signs Are Most Common in Children with Sleep Apnea?

Although all children are different and will show different signs should they be experiencing sleep apnea, the most typical symptoms associated with this common disorder include:

  • Snoring
  • Mouth breathing while asleep
  • Sleeping in various positions
  • Restless sleep
  • Bedwetting
  • Daytime fatigue or frequent naps
  • Behavioral issues and difficulty concentrating
  • Night terrors or sleepwalking
  • Teeth grinding
  • Excessive sweating
  • Growth problems

If treating a child for sleep apnea, you may need to ask the parents about their child’s ability to function throughout the day. Everything from the ease/difficulty of waking up in the morning to falling asleep during the day to experiencing a harder time focusing are all indicators that there is a problem.

How to Treat Children with Sleep Apnea

Fortunately, many of the available treatments that can be used on an adult can also be effective for children. While it may be suggested that their adenoids (if enlarged) or tonsils be removed, it is also possible to offer CPAP or oral appliance therapy to a child. Depending on their individual situation and the severity of their sleep apnea, one method may be better than the other.

In working with the child’s parents, you can better identify which solution will likely prove more helpful and provide them with treatment that will improve their child’s quality of life. While a CPAP is often more cost-effective, children may have a difficult time wearing the device and keeping it on throughout the night.

An oral appliance may prove to be the better solution, as it is often more comfortable to wear and can be customized to your child’s mouth.

Knowing how and what to look for when treating a young person for sleep apnea is crucial. While many symptoms may seem close to those an adult experiences, there are several signs that a child is more apt to suffer from.

About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.

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