Medically reviewed by Dennis H. Nicholson, MD, Medical Director, PVHMC Sleep Disorders Center
Pediatric (childhood) Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly is partially or completely blocked during sleep. If your child regularly feels tired after a full night of rest, has trouble with hyperactivity, poor school grades, difficulty paying attention in class, you may want to talk to your doctor about a sleep disorder evaluation.
The most common culprit in children are enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Childhood obesity can cause or contribute to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you notice your child snores or breathes loudly during sleep, the board-certified physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers encourage you to visit our Sleep Disorders Center to help your child get better, healthier sleep.
The two types of sleep apnea are:
Nasal allergies may not specifically cause sleep apnea, there does seem to be a connection. Those with allergic rhinitis (e.g. hay fever) have a higher risk of experiencing longer and more frequent obstructive sleep apneas.
Why? Warm temperatures push pollen and other common allergens like mold spores, dust and pet dander into the air, but cooler air at night means these allergens fall back down and cover surfaces at night. If your child collects pollen (or other allergens) in their hair or clothes over the course of the day, it can increase their risk of bedtime allergy and sleep apnea symptoms. This combination can leave them struggling to get the restorative sleep they need.
Labored breathing occurs when the upper airway narrows as a result of congestion. This can lead to more frequent breathing disruptions, which interrupt the body’s natural sleep cycles and leave your child irritable and tired. Inflammation can also create a buildup of pressure that contributes to headaches, teeth grinding and an increased risk of repeated apneas.
Sleep apnea could put you or your child’s life at risk, so it’s important to understand how to manage it and alleviate severe symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment for your child’s sleep disorder. Following evaluation by our Sleep Disorders specialist treatment options may include:
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke later in life. During childhood, problems include poor school performance and hyperactivity. If you or your child is struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, please contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9025. Our Sleep Disorders Center, located in Claremont, CA, offers state-of-the-art facilities and easy access to comprehensive, caring medical services.
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