Sleep Apnoea In Children


July 18, 2019

Sleep apnoea is a common disorder where a person’s breathing stops and starts during sleep, interrupting the breathing process.

Sleep apnoea is a common disorder where a person’s breathing stops and starts during sleep, with pauses lasting from 10 seconds or longer and interrupting the breathing process many times an hour. This is due to an obstruction to the upper airway and can reduce blood flow to the brain.

Is sleep apnoea different in children than adults?

There are three types: obstructivecentral and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common and can range from mild to severe, causing long-term health issues such as high blood pressure and heart failure.

Sleep apnoea can affect anyone, including children (generally around three to six years), although as people age it becomes more likely, due to the loss of muscle tone in the throat.

 Your child might have sleep apnoea if they’re…

 What causes sleep apnoea in children?

There are three main reasons:

  1. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (the glands in the throat just behind the nose) can obstruct their airway. Your child may need to get them removed by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
  2. Certain facial characteristics can affect the upper airway. They may have been born with a small jaw, receding chin, cleft palate or have a narrowed airway due to excess tissue in the throat or slackened muscles not opening the mouth effectively.
  3. Overweight children run a higher risk of sleep-breathing issues, as excess fat around the upper airway and in the neck may press on the throat muscles when they’re relaxed during sleep.

Where can parents get help?

Often, your dentist may be the one to pick up that your child may have a sleep-related breathing disorder, simply because they may see them more regularly for check-ups than your GP.

Call us on (08) 8346 3940 or get in touch via our contact form.

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