What is Paediatric Sleep Apnoea exactly?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the result of partial (hypopnoea) or total (apnoea) obstruction of upper airways (nose and throat) during sleep.
Do some children have a higher risk than others?
Asthmatic and allergic children are among those most likely to develop sleep apnoea. The list also includes premature babies, those suffering from chronic ENT infections and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The risk also increases for children who have at least one parent with sleep apnoea.
Do infants get sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea in babies is very rare. In fact, apnoea does not usually develop until 18 months and most often occurs between the ages of 2 - 8 years, and 12 - 16 years of age.
What are the signs your child might have sleep apnoea?
The following symptoms are warning signs requiring a consultation with a healthcare professional:
- Snoring (variable intensity)
- Breathing with your mouth open
- Restless sleep, nightmares
- Frequent nocturnal awakenings
- Excessive perspiration
- Sleep talking
- Head tilted back
- Enuresis (bed-wetting)
Bruxism (teeth grinding)
What are the causes of sleep apnoea in children?
Paediatric sleep apnoea is often associated with allergies, asthma or enlarged tonsils and/or vegetations.
What are the risks of sleep apnoea for children?
By affecting the quality of sleep, sleep apnoea can lead to:
- Hyperactivity (unlike in adults who tend to become drowsy);
- Behavioural problems (an irritated and difficult child, often crying and suffering from constant mood swings);
- Difficulty in school with attention and memory problems.
What could be done to help a child with sleep apnoea?
Fortunately, there is a variety of effective treatments. These are prescribed by a specialist once the cause of the problem is identified. Who may be consulted?
- An ENT specialist will be the doctor prescribing treatment in the case of, for example, enlarged tonsils or the growth of vegetations. Removal of this tissue will make the passage of air easier.
- An orthodontist intervenes if there are symptoms such as, breathing through the mouth. This, in addition to a progression of the sleep apnoea problem, leads to a growth disorder in the jawbone and causes malocclusion. Breathing with the mouth open prevents the tongue from playing its role in the proper formation of the palate (roof of mouth).
- A paediatrician prescribes treatment and performs check-ups in the case of repeated allergies, colds or rhinopharyngitis.
A nutritionist may also be consulted if the child has weight problems or suffers from child obesity, which is an aggravating factor in sleep apnoea.
How do you know if your child has sleep apnoea?
It is simpler than it seems! All you need is to perform a sleep test. Fortunately, you no longer need to worry about your child spending the night at the hospital and being monitored with electrodes and wires. The Sunrise sleep test is performed entirely at home, in the comfort of your own bed!
Our sleep test is an CE-certified medical device and it is completely safe for use in children. The data collected just from one night is sufficient to have a good picture of your child’s sleep. You may then easily share the results with our team of medical specialists or your personal doctor and we will surely find the best solution to help your child get a good night’s sleep at last.