Sleep plays a very important role in a child’s growth and development. Parents always cajole their children to nap in the afternoons and sleep early in the evenings, but sometimes it seems as tough their children are not getting sufficient sleep. These children toss and turn all night long, sweat, grind their teeth and even snore for no apparent reason. So what may be the problem? If you are a parent who has encountered these problems with your child, have you ever noticed him having trouble with his breathing? Does it seem like there is something obstructing his airway? If so chances are, your child is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
This type of apnea is very common among children, but also present in adults and it is mainly caused by a complete or partial obstruction in the airway often during sleep. Obstructive apnea usually occurs during sleep as the soft tissue behind the throat is relaxed. The diaphragm and the chest muscles work harder trying to open the airway that is obstructed and as the air is pulled into the lungs, a sudden body jerk, snort or gasp can be noticed. Aside from difficulty in breathing, obstructive sleep apnea can also reduce the flow of oxygen needed by the organs and trigger irregular heart rhythms.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be distinguished whether it is severe or not based on the number of occurrences experienced while sleeping. Unfortunately, these occurrences can be experienced five or more times each hour which can affect sleep.
The Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you are still uncertain as to how you can determine if your child has obstructive apnea, you can refer to these to help you out.
- Severe sweating at night
- Bed wetting
- Drooling or choking
- Behavioral disorders
- Learning disorders
- Poor school performance
- The rib cage is pulled backwards when inhaling
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Teeth grinding
- Sleepiness in school
- Enlarged tonsils
- Excessive sleepiness through the day
- Unusual sleeping position
It is important to understand that obstructive sleep apnea can be associated with other conditions and life threatening events. This is common among infants and those born prematurely. In these cases, you must seek medical attention immediately as they can be very serious.
The Treatment Needed
An effective treatment you can consider to cure obstructive sleep apnea is SomnoMed. It is created with a unique design to allow the mouth to open and close normally in comfort and this is why each device is custom made to fit every mouth.
Since obstructive sleep apnea can be categorized from mild to moderate based on five to thirty occurrences, oral appliances such as SomnoMed are considered effective and primary by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. You can visit your pediatrician to verify the cause of the sleep disorder and then consult a dental professional if it is indeed obstructive sleep apnea.
If you feel that your child is possibly suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, you must schedule an appointment with the professionals to determine the definite cause. In the event that prolonged pauses in breathing is accompanied with gagging and a change of skin color, immediate medical attention is needed.
Valerie Trent is a freelance writer specializing in health and well being. She regularly writes about sleep and dental health for websites such as www.dentalboise.com where professionals can be consulted. You can visit these sites to find out more about obstructive sleep apnea.