Does Your Child Suffer from Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious health condition in which breathing repeatedly stops throughout sleep due to an obstruction in the airway. While sleep apnea is more common in adults, children can suffer from this condition as well. In fact, studies have shown that between one and five children have sleep apnea.
Discover what sleep apnea looks like in children and how Dr. Winkelmann can effectively diagnose and treat your child’s condition.
Children’s Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea isn’t always easy to notice in children. Due to its shared symptoms with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), children can often be misdiagnosed and won’t get the proper care they need for sleep apnea.
Without treatment, sleep apnea can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and more. That’s why Dr. Winkelmann recommends your child undergo a sleep study if they’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Loud, frequent snoring
- Gasping or choking sounds overnight
- Morning/daytime fatigue
- Short attention span/lack of concentration
- Slow growth
It’s important to note that snoring isn’t as common in children with sleep apnea as it is in adults. For that reason, it’s essential that you watch out for the less common symptoms listed above.
Sleep Apnea and ADHD: The Similarities
It’s possible for children to become hyperactive for a number of reasons, one of the top reasons being they don’t have a consistent, healthy sleep pattern. This can result in fatigue, irritability, and trouble concentrating. All of which are the top symptoms for both sleep apnea and ADHD.
Unfortunately, this can lead to misdiagnosis with unnecessary medication for your child. Studies show that as many as 25 percent of ADHD diagnoses can be associated with sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, or you suspect that they may be suffering from sleep apnea, we recommend they receive a sleep study. This will provide us with an accurate diagnosis and can save your child a lifetime of unnecessary treatments and prescriptions.
If your child receives an OSA diagnosis, Dr. Winkelmann features a variety of treatment options. One option is a CPAP machine, which pumps air into a mask that your child wears while they sleep. Unfortunately, CPAP machines are noisy and can be uncomfortable, causing many children to stop using them.
In cases like these, Dr. Winkelmann will suggest a custom oral appliance. Oral appliances are similar to mouthguards and allow for easy breathing throughout the night. Unlike CPAP, these devices are comfortable, quiet, and easily portable. As a result, your child can finally enjoy the quality night’s sleep they need to function at a healthy level.
Get a Better Understanding of Sleep Apnea
If you feel your child may be suffering from sleep apnea or has received a misdiagnosis, Dr. Winkelmann can help. To schedule your child’s appointment with Dr. Winkelmann, call our Wake Forest office at (984) 237-1013. You can also fill out our online contact form and one of our team members will be in touch as soon as possible.