Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea

obstructive-sleep-apneaHave you ever noticed your children snoring or having breathing difficulties while they sleep? Have you observed them waking up in the middle of the night while they sleep? Your child may actually be suffering from a sleep disordered called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What Is Sleep Disordered Breathing?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the blockage of the windpipe. When the child’s sleep is disturbed, the body may assume it to be choking. The heart rate slows down, oxygen levels drop and sleep is disturbed.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are observable. It may obviously include sleep disturbances which may cause the child to be irritable. The symptoms also include mild to very loud snoring due to the air pipe being blocked. Snorting may also be observed. Children may even wet their bed in such instances.

Cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

A common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is enlarged tonsils. It may also be caused by high fat. The fat may deposit itself around the windpipe and narrow the breathing passage. It is also common in children with lower jaw and tongue abnormality or cerebral palsy. Children with neuromuscular deficits are also at a risk of developing sleep-disordered breathing problems.

Consequences Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    DISTURBING OTHERS – If a child shares his room with a sibling or has a sleepover with a friend, loud snoring may be a problem for the other children. Some children also tend to wet their bed because of increased urine production in their body.

    IRRITABILITY – A child with sleep-disordered breathing may be very moody, irritable, distracted and absent-minded. This behavior may be seen at school as well as home. Some children may even have a hyperactive attitude.

    SLOWED GROWTH – Sleep-disordered breathing in children may slow down their growing process. They may not be able to produce growth hormones as much as they should.

    OBESITY – The child’s body becomes resistant to insulin. They may be tired more than normal and may not take part in any physical activity. There may even be cardiovascular and high blood pressure problems in the child.


Since tonsils and adenoids are a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea, doctors tend to examine the child for tonsils and adenoids first. The doctor may recommend for the tonsils to be surgically removed. If the sleep disordered breathing does not disturb the academics and performance of the child and the tonsils is relatively small, the surgery is discouraged. As the child grows, the tonsils shrink. His/her behavior should still be observed over time.
If the child suffers from obesity, they are advised to take part in physical activities more. This can help reduce the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

If you have noticed your child is struggling with any of these issues, contact RxSmile Frisco Orthodontics to see what options are available to you!

RxSmile Frisco Orthodontics

Phone: (972) 335-1300

6801 Warren Pkwy, Suite 121
Frisco, TX 75034

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