Does Your Child ADHD? It May Actually Be Sleep Apnea
Many people don’t realize that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also develop in children. Although the prevalence of OSA in children is lower than in adults, it continues to be a health issue that should be treated as soon as it’s diagnosed.
It’s estimated that between one and four percent of children suffer from this sleep disorder, however, it is often misdiagnosed as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are similar symptoms between OSA and ADHD such as behavioral and learning problems. Your child may actually be having these issues because of their disrupted, deficient sleep.
At The Smile Agency, Dr. Guinn treats children with obstructive sleep apnea, helping them receive the rest their bodies need in order to thrive physically and academically in school.
Signs of Sleep Apnea in Children
Depending on the age of your child, the causes of sleep apnea may vary. The most common causes of obstructive sleep apnea in young children include enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
When your child falls asleep and their muscles begin to relax, their enlarged tonsils or adenoids will increasingly swell. Their airway will then be completely obstructed and all air supply to their lungs will be cut off, stopping their breathing briefly throughout the night.
Additionally, obesity can play a big role in sleep apnea for adolescent children between the ages of 12 and 18. Obese or overweight patients have a higher risk of suffering from sleep apnea because of their enlarged necks, which can cause a blockage in your breathing at night.
If you suspect your child is living with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Guinn recommends observing them as they sleep in order to look for potential signs of the disorder. While some symptoms may be observed on a day to day basis, signs of OSA are most prevalent during sleep.
Symptoms to look out for in your child:
Snoring, Sleepwalking, Bedwetting, Night sweats
Mouth-breathing, Poor attention span
Behavioral and academic issues at school
Proper Treatment by Dr. Guinn
Treatment options for OSA depend on the child and their specific case. There are various solutions that can alleviate symptoms of their sleep apnea and Dr. Guinn knows the importance of providing proper care.
As a board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Guinn can use an oral appliance to help treat your child’s obstructive sleep apnea. These dental-made mouthpieces are used in the upper and lower jaw to prevent airway obstruction by pulling the jaw forward.
Children sleep apnea may also differ from adult sleep apnea because they are still experiencing facial bone growth. Their non-developed features enable Dr. Guinn to correct irregularities before they become permanent. A treatment known as Class II Correction uses an oral appliance to expand your child’s upper palate in a safe and gentle manner while shaping their bite and moving it forward. This procedure can also treat your child’s developmental jaw disorders or teeth grinding.
Losing Weight Can Make a Huge Difference
Additionally, if your child with obstructive sleep apnea is overweight and struggles with obesity, weight management through a healthy diet and an exercise regimen can help them shed excess weight. The extra soft tissue in their neck could potentially be causing their sleep episodes, so losing the weight can show a great impact in their condition. For children with large tonsils or adenoids, we may recommend surgery as a solution to their sleep apnea.
Visit Pasadena’s Smile Agency
It’s important to address your child’s health no matter what the case is. Being able to distinguish the difference between obstructive sleep apnea and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is crucial in finding proper treatment.
Dr. Guinn can recognize if your child is suffering from sleep apnea at their next examination, and if she suspects they are, she will recommend you to a sleep medicine physician for an official sleep test. Don’t let your child’s OSA go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Contact The Smile Agency in Pasadena, CA today for their appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
My Kid Snores, Can They Have OSA?
Yes. Unfortunately, no one is safe from sleep apnea and children are often misdiagnosed or completely undiagnosed of their disorder. In fact, nearly 25% of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are actually suffering from OSA.
Learn about the possible symptoms your child may have and see where Dr. Guinn suggests you take them for a sleep study.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has Sleep Apnea?
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in children might include:
- Sleep terrors
- Bed wetting
- Snorting, coughing, or choking
- Restless sleep
- Pauses in breathing
- Mouth breathing