Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes brief pauses in breathing while you sleep. In children, sleep apnea is often caused by a blockage in the upper airway, as enlarged tonsils and adenoids are very common in children.
Other possible causes include being overweight, wherein the fat deposits in areas surrounding the upper airway can increase its collapsibility, which leads to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is most common in children between the ages of three and six. If there are noticeable changes in your child’s behavior, and the child is not sleeping through the night, it could be due to sleep apnea. Let’s talk about the most common symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea, how it’s diagnosed, and where you can go in Georgetown, Texas, for world-class ear, nose, and throat (ENT) treatment.
Symptoms of Pediatric Sleep Apnea
Most of the more common symptoms of sleep apnea in children can be observed during sleep; the rest are symptoms that are evident during the day:
- Loud breathing, mouth breathing, or snoring
- Brief pauses in breathing or difficulty breathing
- Making odd sounds, such as snorting and gasping
- Restlessness, such as tossing and turning
- Excessive sweating
- Night terrors
- Excessive daytime sleepiness; needing more naps
- Difficulty concentrating at school, leading to poor grades
- Irritability and other behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity
- Morning headaches
- Developing a nasal voice
If the upper airway is blocked, the air does not easily flow in and out of the lungs. This could lead to lower blood oxygen levels. Over time, if left untreated, sleep apnea in children can lead to complications which could affect their growth and development. It could also lead to lung and heart issues.
How Sleep Apnea Is Diagnosed in Children
The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study. Sleep apnea tests for children can be done at home so the child remains comfortable and is able to actually fall asleep with the electrodes attached to the chest. This is done during the night in order to capture normal sleep patterns.
After confirming a diagnosis, the doctor can recommend the most effective treatment that will help your child breathe better through the night and have uninterrupted sleep.
Pediatric Sleep Apnea Treatment in Georgetown, TX
If you suspect that your child has sleep apnea, an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) can provide expert treatment that the child needs to get a good night’s sleep every night.
At Georgetown ENT, our ENT doctors are highly experienced in treating pediatric sleep apnea. Dr. Scott Franklin is uniquely qualified to treat pediatric sleep apnea, as he is board-certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine. Dr. Franklin prefers to use the least-invasive methods of treatment for our patients.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Franklin, call our clinic today at (512) 869-0604 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping your child sleep through the night!