Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children

Do You Believe Your Child Could Have a Sleep Disorder Like Sleep Apnea? If You Do, Then We Can Help Here at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders. We’re Familiar With the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children, and You Should Be Too. Call Us Today for More Information.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children

Although sleep apnea isn’t so common in children, when it occurs, it’s a significant issue for both the children and the parents. In fact, untreated sleep apnea in children is a serious issue because it can lead to certain behavioral problems. If your child is experiencing these problems, poor sleep, or some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea in children, then we’d like to help you here at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders.

Is sleep apnea in children serious?

When it occurs, yes, sleep apnea in children can be serious, especially if it’s left untreated, which is when it can result in behavioral, adaptive, and learning difficulties. For example, the daytime symptoms of poor sleep caused by sleep apnea can eventually manifest into symptoms similar to those of ADHD.

It could be that 25 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD might actually have the symptoms of sleep apnea, so their behavioral and learning problems could actually be a result of poor sleep. A recent study showed that the occurrence of behavioral problems in children were four to five times higher in children with incident sleep apnea and even higher in children with persistent sleep apnea. It’s also true that children with untreated sleep apnea are at a significantly greater risk of hypertension and cardiac problems.

What are some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea in children?

Sleep apnea in children can be quite serious, and the symptoms can be difficult to identify. However, with a parent’s attention and with professional assistance, it’s possible to identify the symptoms. Here are some of the more common symptoms we see here at our clinic:

  • Snoring – About ten percent of children who snore have sleep apnea
  • Breathing through the mouth – This is somewhat common too
  • Tiredness and fatigue during the day
  • Trouble with concentration and/or a poor attention span
  • Certain behavioral issues and/or poor performance in school
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Bedwetting

Some of the possible causes of sleep apnea in children can be childhood obesity (in older children) and enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids (in children of any age). These issues can cause a child to have breathing difficulty during the day and issues at night. When the child sleeps, the muscles in his or her throat will relax and allow the tonsils and/or adenoids to restrict airflow significantly. Sometimes, the muscle relaxation can cause the child’s lower jaw to fall back toward the throat, and this can cause sleep apnea too.

How is sleep apnea in children treated?

If the issue is enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, then a possible and effective solution is a relatively simple surgery. If the issue is obesity, then weight management and lifestyle programs can help, but sometimes the underlying issue requires treatment with a particular machine or appliance, like a CPAP machine or an oral appliance.

You might have already heard about CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, and although this can work in many cases, it is uncomfortable and often doesn’t work for a child. Often, the best approach to treating sleep apnea in children is oral appliance therapy. The oral appliance is custom-made, comfortable, and convenient to use. It works by relaxing the jaw, tongue, and airway which helps them rest in their normal, natural position. We provide oral appliance therapy here at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders.

Where is your clinic located?

Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders has multiple locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin. We welcome you to contact us and bring your child in for a simple consultation. We will help you understand and interpret your child’s symptoms, and provide an oral appliance if your child needs one. For many young patients, an oral appliance can help a great deal and reduce symptoms significantly. We hope it will help your child too!

Please see our Appointments page to make an appointment with us at one of our locations, or you can call us.