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Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Treatment

If your child has trouble sleeping, focusing or has behavioural issues, they might have sleep apnoea.

While many of us associate sleep apnoea and snoring with adults, there are a percentage of children that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

Not only can this affect their ability to sleep, it can also cause problems for your child during the day. Children who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can end up feeling extremely tired during school hours, which can cause difficulties with learning as well as some behavioural and/or medical problems. These issues are oftentimes misdiagnosed and children are treated for behavioural issues instead of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

Signs and Symptoms

If your child is suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, they may be presenting some of the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring, pauses in breathing or difficulty breathing during sleep.
  • Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep. They may also be particularly restless during sleep and in some cases can sweat.
  • Breathing through their mouth instead of their nose during sleep.
  • Waking up feeling tired, with headaches, blocked nose, poor appetite and/or experiencing problems swallowing.
  • In some cases, children with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea have difficulty paying attention during the day, and sometimes present with behavioural problems and learning difficulties.

The Causes of Childhood Sleep Apnoea

As Dr Maratos discussed in the video above, childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can be a result of a range of different causes.

The most common cause of child sleep apnoea is enlarged tonsils. These tonsils, which sit at the back of the throat, grow quickest when your child is between the ages of 2 and 7 years old. In most cases, having their enlarged tonsils removed can help to alleviate the problem. Another major cause of childhood sleep apnoea is obesity, in which case a healthy diet and exercise program can help to fix the problem.

Another major cause of childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can be their jaw or alignment of their bite. A small jaw can affect how a child breathes during sleep and undergoing orthodontics can help to realign the jaw and open the nasal passage properly.

Complications

If childhood sleep apnoea is left untreated it can result in a range of long term issues:

  • Poor growth
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Behaviour and cognition issues

If you notice your child is having difficulty breathing while they sleep, you should contact us straight away. It is vitally important that you have your child’s sleep apnoea diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Often children are wrongly diagnosed for behavioural issues when they are simply not getting enough sleep.

If your child is presenting any of the symptoms listed above, contact us at DesignDentistry in East Bentleigh and Dr Ian Maratos will be able to assess your child and in some cases determine if they are suffering from Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.


DesignDentistry | (03) 9570 3128