Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs when a child is asleep. Due to the increased public awareness campaigns and advances in medical science, parents and pediatricians are more frequently recognizing it. As many as 4% of children potentially have sleep apnea, and this disorder can affect kids of all ages, from infancy to adolescence. More than 2 million American children suffer from a sleep disorder.
The most common symptom is regular snoring. Other nighttime symptoms are pauses in breathing (called apnea), restless sleep, mouth breathing when asleep, and sweating when asleep. Sleep apnea can also contribute to urinating in the bed while asleep and sleepwalking. During the day, children can have hyperactivity, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems. Sleep apnea can also result in delayed or slowed growth of children.
Most cases of sleep apnea can be treated with removal of tonsils or adenoids. A small percentage of patients use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy at night to treat sleep apnea. Finally, weight reduction can also eliminate sleep apnea in children who are overweight or obese.
It's important to talk to a child's pediatrician if there is concern that a child may have sleep apnea. Sleep specialists that have training in pediatric sleep disorders can help parents and their children get the proper rest they need. The Alabama Sleep Clinic website offers thorough advice and practical tips to determine whether or not an individual may be experiencing a sleep disorder.
Alabama Sleep Clinic, founded in 1996 by Dr. Edward Turpin, is the state's largest independent sleep medicine practice and is known throughout the Tennessee Valley as THE sleep specialist practice for both children and adults. They specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating all sleep disorders and they offer a wide range of services in their Huntsville, Madison, and Decatur offices.
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