Although obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is typically considered an ‘adult’ condition, it is actually not governed by age and can be present at any age. There are links suggesting a possible connection between obstructive sleep apnoea and sudden infant death sydrome, suggesting this maybe actually OSA in an infant. OSA can affect otherwise healthy children. OSA may in fact be the root cause of childhood behavior and attention problems, some studes suggest a significant number of children taking medications for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) may actually have sleep apnoea and not true ADHD. The reason for this is children who have poor sleep will exhibit identical symptoms to ADHD such as poor focus/concentration and hyperactivity. Enlarged adenoids, tonsils and small structural features of the maxilla/nose, mouth and throat may contribute to childhood OSA. Over 90% of growth hormone is made during deep sleep, if sleep is interrupted throughout the night, can have impacts on multiple systems. A thorough evaluation and testing is needed for an accurate diagnosis
Like adults, OSA is caused when your airways close during sleep affecting both your breathing and quality of sleep. During the day, muscles comprising your airway are active and keep the throat and airway passage open. However, when a patient has obstructive sleep apnoea, the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing air from getting to the lungs. The site of obstruction in most patients with obstructive sleep apnoea is in the soft palate region, extending to the region at the base of the tongue as there are no rigid structures, such as cartilage or bone, in this area to hold the airway open. So as a person with obstructive sleep apnoea falls asleep, these airway muscles relax to a point where the airway collapses and becomes obstructed and in turn effects their ability to breathe well during sleep.
Sleep related breathing disorders in children are conditions that prevent them from getting the oxygen needed while they sleep, creating a form of suffocation. Obstructive sleep apnoea in children is being increasingly recognised as a cause of attention and behavior problems as well as learning and developmental problems. Many studies exhist showing the detrimental effects of obstructive sleep apnoea in children, including significant effects on the size of their brain.
- Mouth breathing
- Restlessness during sleep
- Hyperactivity during the day
- Sleeping in odd positions
- Periods of not breathing
- Teeth grinding
- Night terrors
- Mood changes
- Poor concentration
- Bed wetting
- Frequent infections (ear or respiratory)
Do you think your child has sleep apnoea? Please come see us or take the test below.