Children’s Sleep Apnea FAQs
Worried your child isn’t sleeping well at night? Noticing they keep their mouth open while breathing or wake up irritable or unable to focus? These are all possible signs of sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Dr. Erin Prach and her team know you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to better understanding this common condition and what can be done to address it. As a believer and advocate for the HealthyStart in Casper program, Dr. Prach can help your child once again sleep better and breathe easier. But before you begin on any program, she has compiled some frequently asked questions about children’s sleep apnea for you to review. If you have any additional concerns or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.
What are the risks factors often associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a child?
No parent wants to learn that their child could be at risk for OSA; however, the reality is that many children are suffering from this common problem, which is going untreated until adulthood. If you want to ensure your child is getting the sleep they need as well as breathing freely, it’s best to identify the factors that could put them most at risk, such as:
- Being overweight or obese
- A tumor developing in their airway
- Various birth defects or syndromes, including Down syndrome or Pierre-Robin syndrome
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
How can I know if my child suffers from sleep apnea?
Apart from simply watching your child sleep, the most common symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Mouth breathing
- Behavioral issues at home or school
- Sleepwalking/night terrors
- Loud snoring
- Daytime fatigue
- Hyperactive throughout the day
- Restless while sleeping
- Ceased breathing for a few seconds
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty learning or concentrating
Remember, not all children with sleep apnea will experience these symptoms. While some will only show signs of a few, others will not. Monitor your child’s behavior and sleeping patterns and never be afraid to contact our office for further examination.
What does a sleep study look at?
When attempting to diagnose a child with sleep apnea, you will need to schedule a sleep study. This can be performed in a special lab or at home depending on your child. Before they fall asleep, they will be connected to various monitors that will check for different factors, each of which plays a part in whether a person is experiencing sleep apnea. Some of these include:
- Brain activity
- Chest and abdominal wall movement
- How much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in the blood
- The heart’s electrical activity
- Muscle activity
- How well air is flowing through the nose and mouth
Once results are reviewed, your child will receive a formal diagnosis if they do, indeed, suffer from sleep apnea. It is at this point that you will need to make an appointment with a children’s dentist in Casper to inquire about treatment.
What is the ideal age to start the HealthyStart system?
Dr. Prach and her team strongly recommend the earlier you start your child on HealthyStart in Casper, the better. It is advised that by the time your child reaches the age of 2, they have an exam performed by a qualified provider. This allows the dentist to determine if your little one needs to begin treatment to avoid more serious problems as they grow and develop.