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Child Sleep Apnea

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Each day, studies are being preformed to gain a better understanding of children's behavioral and attention problems. Today, a lot of this research is focused on how children fall asleep. Recently, studies have shown that sleep disorders in children can play a big role in problems form hyperactivity or poor academic performance.

If your child has behavioral or academic problems, you may want to have their sleep patterns assessed. It is believed that almost 10% of the children in America have some form of sleep apnea. Most times these disorders are left undiagnosed, because very few people know what the effects symptoms of these problems are.

Sleep apnea is a very common disorder for adults. It can result in fatigue, hypertension, and other health problems. While many people think it is linked to obesity, a person can be of any size or shape and suffer from this condition.

Everyone stops breathing occasionally during sleep. However, when person has this disorder the pause can last for up to 10 seconds. This condition can cause major health problems, and is known to affect millions of Americans, primarily those over 50 years of age.

Recently, research has been able to prove that there are also a lot of children who have this breathing disorder in their sleep. Children are usually affected by a form called Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. While asleep, a child's breath is stopped by structures like the tonsils or adenoids. When the air gets obstructed, ample amounts of oxygen is not able to reach the brain.

This can cause poor sleep patterns, and decreased concentration while awake. Getting adequate amounts of oxygen to the brain is one of the biggest reasons for getting a good night's sleep. Recently, this disorder has been shown to be one of the major factors behind many children's attention span and behavioral problems.

However, this condition is hard to diagnose in children. There are many times when the only symptom is sleepiness. Some children show other symptoms, like excessive snoring, restless sleep, excessive sweating while sleeping, waking up often, sleepwalking, and talking in their sleep.

The only way to accurately and positively diagnose sleep apnea is through a study called a "polysomnography". This requires staying the night in a special lab, where wires and probes are attached to the body. These wires and probes are designed to monitor brain waves, breathing, eye movements, and other factors associated with sleep problems.

While the polysomnography is completely painless, it is known to be uncomfortable for some people, especially for children. In order for the test to be accurate, a person needs to sleep in an unfamiliar place, under strange conditions. However, if you believe you child has sleep apnea, they must undergo this test. When sleep apnea is not treated early in life, it is known to cause hypertension, high blood pressure, and other serious health conditions as adulthood is reached.

You may want to recommend you child have this test if he/she suffers from excessive sleepiness, hyperactivity, or inability to concentrate. The sooner you are able to get your child diagnosed and treated, the sooner he/she will be able to function better. This condition is easily treated, especially when caught early in life.



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