For parents, there’s no better feeling than seeing their kids grow up to be happy and healthy. If you have no medical background, it does pay to be observant about your child’s habits because there might be underlying health problems with symptoms that may not necessarily show up. Let’s take sleep apnea as an example.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, it is estimated that 1 to 4% of kids suffer from sleep apnea. The age range is from 2 to 8 years old.

It is possible that your child has sleep apnea if the following symptoms are shown:

–          Chronic mouth breathing while asleep.

–          Frequent awakening at night.

–          Gasping, snorting or making other noises while asleep.

–          Long pauses in breathing while asleep.

–          Night Sweats.

–          Snoring.

The condition is called OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and the general term for the breathing difficulties that kids experience while asleep is SDB or Sleep Disordered Breathing. Physically, one of the most common causes of SDB is a kid having enlarged adenoids and tonsils. Overweight kids are also at risk, as well as those who are suffering from abnormalities involving the tongue or lower jaw.

How Important is it to Diagnose & Treat Kids with OSA?

Although there is a possibility for your child to outgrow OSA, it is very important for the condition to be diagnosed and treated early on. A prospective study made in Boston has shown that the abnormalities in the functionality of kid’s brains are reversible once OSA is treated.

To give you an idea about the possible consequences that non-diagnosis and treatment of OSA can have to kids, take a look at the following list:

  • Your child could have problems adjusting to social situations. If your son is aware that he snores at night, for example, he might refuse to go to summer camps or sleepovers.
  • Your child may have behavioural and learning challenges. This includes moodiness, inattentiveness and non-continuous learning at home or at school.
  • Your child’s growth and development may be stunted.
  • Obesity, cardiovascular disease and enuresis.  Enuresis is commonly known as bedwetting, which is something that you would not older kids to experience anymore. High blood pressure, heart, daytime fatigue, heart and lung problems are the other health consequences of OSA.

With early diagnosis and treatment of OSA, there could be a more brisk development of a child’s learning, executive function and memory. So what exactly do these all mean for parents? To sum it all up, what you need to do is be observant if your child is having any difficulties getting good quality sleep at night.

If you see any of the aforementioned sleep apnea symptoms, seek professional help to make sure that the condition will not interfere with the full social, mental and health development of your child.