Sleep apnea is a condition that causes pauses in breathing during sleep, usually due to an obstruction in the upper airway. It can affect not just adults but also children, through what’s referred to as pediatric sleep apnea.
Symptoms of pediatric apnea include night sweats, mouth breathing, loud snoring, pauses in breathing, and interrupted sleep. Sleeping throughout the night is important at any age, and even more so in children who are growing and developing.
If you suspect your child has sleep apnea, here’s why it’s important to see a pediatric sleep apnea doctor for an evaluation.
#1 It Can Cause Behavioral Problems
Sleep apnea primarily affects quality of sleep, and not sleeping through the night can have serious consequences during the day. Excessive daytime sleepiness means your child will likely have a shorter fuse or have difficulty controlling emotions. Fussiness and irritability are very common in children with sleep apnea. Researchers have found a link between sleep apnea and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is a disorder characterized by inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity.
#2 It Can Lead to Poor Physical Health and Disease
Sleep is critical for good health. It is the brain and body’s time to rest and get ready for the next day. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to many diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It can also increase the risk of obesity. When children lack sleep, they lack energy for physical activity, and this can make them more likely to overeat and snack on unhealthy foods.
#3 It Can Lead to Cognitive Problems
A lot goes on in the brain and body during sleep. During the day, a lack of sleep can make it hard to pay attention and process information, much less retain it. If untreated, children with sleep apnea may fail to thrive.
#4 It Can Affect Growth
Growth hormones are released during stage 3 of non-REM sleep. At this stage, the child is going into a deep sleep. Awakening during this stage of sleep means there is an interruption in the production of growth hormones, and studies have proven that this impairs pediatric growth and development.
#5 It Can Lead to Anxiety and Unhappiness
A child’s mental and emotional health can be negatively affected just by looking at what sleep apnea can cause at home, in school, and during play. It has been found that children with sleep apnea develop depressive symptoms. They are more likely to have anxiety. There is a connection between sleep quality and mental health conditions. All in all, being well-rested contributes to better mental and emotional health for your child.
Pediatric Sleep Apnea Doctor in Georgetown, TX
Dr. Scott W. Franklin is a double board-certified ENT surgeon and sleep medicine doctor uniquely qualified to treat pediatric patients with sleep apnea. Pediatric sleep apnea is usually caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils, which Dr. Franklin skillfully treats. With his expertise combined with good bedside manner, Dr. Franklin can get your child breathing better and sleeping through the night in no time.
Dr. Franklin will diagnose your child’s condition in our world-class sleep center in Georgetown, and will let you know what the treatment options are. To schedule an appointment with our pediatric sleep apnea doctor, Dr. Franklin, call Georgetown ENT today at (512) 869-0604 or use our convenient appointment request form.