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What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children? Know the Symptoms


Sleeplessness has become a common problem among adults these days. Well, you won’t be surprised to hear that children too suffer from sleeplessness. While children are generally believed to be more active and sleep better than adults, not all children sleep as peacefully as they require. Sleeplessness among children is known as sleep apnea. Such children suffer from restless sleep, night terrors and snore. These factors also affect their learning and development process. Some of the other factors that may lead to sleeplessness are – sedentary lifestyles, obesity prevalence and improper dietary habits.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder caused due to the repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep which leads to complete or partial blockage of the upper respiratory tract. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea which is caused when muscles in the back of the throat block the airway.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most obvious and common signs of sleep apnea are mentioned below:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day, leading to a lack of focus and concentration
  • Short of breath and waking up in the middle of the night
  • Breathing cessation throughout the night
  • Dry mouth and sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood swings include frequent bouts of depression, anxiety, or excessive irritability
  • Restless sleep or insomnia

According to sleepassociation.org, the symptoms of sleep apnea are not similar in children and adults. “Children with OSA may suffer from significantly lower growth rates, inattention, hyperactivity, and malnutrition,” it added. Hence, if you notice that your child is suffering from any of these symptoms, you must consult a health expert as not getting treatment for it can lead to hypertension, obesity, diabetes, ADHD, depression or developmental delay in your child.

Treatment

Sleep apnea can be treated through lifestyle changes, drugs and medication depending upon the root cause of the disease.

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