Sleep apnea is a destructive health condition that robs a child of rejuvenating rest. Most often caused by obstruction of the airways during sleep, this condition distresses the body on emotional, cognitive, and physical levels. Researchers have linked sleep apnea to a number of conditions including cardiovascular irregularities, depression, stroke, and hypertension. Fortunately, there are solutions for treating sleep apnea provided by our oral surgeon. A sleep apnea specialist, our oral surgeon can help patients of all ages, including children, regain the ability to sleep restfully and reduce the risk for conditions associated with this sleep disorder.
How does sleep apnea cause sleep deprivation in a child?
Children with sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods of time during the night. This cessation of breath is caused by airways being obstructed by soft oral tissues or nasal abnormalities. For example, a deviated septum or excessive throat tissue can block a patient’s ability to breathe properly. When the patient stops breathing, the brain will send signals to wake the patient slightly so that breathing is resumed. The constant cycle of breathing cessation and slight wakefulness prevents a patient from progressing through the different stages of sleep and achieving deep rest. Patients with untreated sleep apnea often experience constant fatigue, memory loss, and irritability.
What causes sleep apnea in childhood?
Sleep apnea among children and teenagers is normally the result of an abnormality of the nasal or oral airways. Common causes include improperly positioned jaws and nasal polyps along with excessive tissue of the tongue, palate, or uvula.
What are symptoms of sleep apnea?
If you are worried a member of your family has sleep apnea, look for signs such as loud snoring, gasping for air, and constant sleepiness. Sleep apnea can negatively affect professional and academic performance, too.
If I suspect a family member has sleep apnea, what should I do?
If you or your children show signs of sleep apnea, you should schedule a sleep study and an appointment with our oral surgeon. The results of the sleep study will determine whether a patient has sleep apnea and an examination with our doctor can help determine the root cause of this condition.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Larry Wolford's office using our online contact form or call 214-828-9115.