Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway. This leads to loud snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep, and it can affect both adults and children.
Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health complications, and the effects are even more pronounced in children because they are still developing – so adequate and uninterrupted sleep is imperative for them. Pediatric sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, attention disorders, behavioral issues, and anxiety in kids; it also increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If your child snores loudly and seems to have breathing problems while they sleep, they may have pediatric sleep apnea. Let’s talk about four of the leading reasons why kids can develop this issue, and where you can go in Georgetown and Greater Austin for a medical evaluation and treatment for your child by an experienced ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor).
What Are the Main Reasons for Sleep Apnea in Children?
Four of the most common underlying causes of sleep apnea in children are the following:
Cause #1: Enlarged Tonsils
Tonsils can become swollen due to a bacterial or viral infection, and this swelling can block the upper airway. The tonsils are fleshy, oval-shaped pads located in the back of the throat, and they are part of the immune system – stopping germs from entering the body through the mouth.
However, they can become infected when they do not sufficiently fight off bacteria or viruses. Swollen tonsils can cause an airway blockage in children, especially while they sleep, as gravity naturally pulls the tonsils downward.
Cause #2: Enlarged Adenoids
Similar to tonsils, adenoids are part of the immune system and can swell when infected, and this can cause a blockage in the airway. Adenoids usually begin to shrink by the age of five.
Cause #3: Being Overweight or Obese
Children who are overweight are at risk of developing sleep apnea due to fat deposits in the neck, which can block the upper airway. Similarly, excess fatty tissue in the abdominal area can cause increased pressure in the chest cavity when the child is lying down, and this can thereby affect normal lung function.
Cause #4: Allergies and Asthma
Allergies such as hay fever can cause nasal congestion. Since sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction, a child who is experiencing nasal allergies usually experiences problems breathing during sleep.
Similarly, asthma can also be behind sleep pediatric sleep apnea, since asthma causes inflammation and a narrowing of the airways. As the lungs struggle to take in oxygen, it could lead to interruptions in breathing during sleep.
ENT Doctor for Pediatric Sleep Apnea Treatment in Georgetown, TX
Dr. Scott Franklin at Georgetown ENT is highly experienced in treating adult and pediatric sleep apnea. Dr. Franklin’s additional training in sleep medicine makes him uniquely qualified to treat sleep disorders caused by nasal obstructions.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Franklin, call our ENT clinic in Georgetown today at (512) 869-0604 or fill out our convenient appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you or your child start getting a good night’s sleep!