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Sleep Apnea & Children in Santa Clara, CA
Home sleep-apnea Sleep Apnea in Children

Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleeping disorder that affects patients of any age and demographic. Unfortunately, this means sleep apnea ca"n affect your children as well. Anywhere from one to five percent of children currently suffer from sleep apnea.

Explore our guide below to better understand the symptoms, risk factors, and health effects of sleep apnea on your child.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

There are many symptoms of sleep apnea that can present themselves; however, it’s still much more difficult to identify them in children than in adults. It’s important to pay attention to your child’s behavior and possible symptoms during the day and night because different symptoms and effects show up at different times.

Daytime symptoms of sleep apnea are often side effects of nighttime restlessness. These symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Behavioral issues, acting out
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Struggles with memory

The nighttime symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Coughing or choking noises during sleep
  • Mouth-breathing during sleep
  • Night terrors
  • Bed-wetting issues
  • Stop-start breathing

It’s important to remember that children with sleep apnea might not snore. With younger patients, often the only signs exhibited are interrupted, disturbed sleep and the side effects of that sleep pattern. If your child is showing any of the listed symptoms, Dr. Goel recommends bringing them in for an evaluation.

Is My Child At Risk For Sleep Apnea?

The reasons that children develop sleep apnea are usually because of family health history, biology, and genetics. With adults, factors such as weight gain and poor physical health can result in sleep apnea, but it’s harder to identify the risk of sleep apnea that a child faces.

Many children with sleep apnea are misdiagnosed with ADHD because of the similarity in daytime symptoms of the two disorders. Up to 25 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD exhibit OSA symptoms. If your child is demonstrating any sleep apnea symptoms, Dr. Goel recommends your child have a sleep study performed to ensure they receive treatment that will alleviate all of their symptoms, not just resolve behavioral issues.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to significant health risks like heart disease, diabetes, and stunted growth. It’s crucial that you inform Dr. Goel if your child has any of the following in their medical history:

  • A family history of OSA
  • History of low birth weight
  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Neuromuscular disease

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Once your child has had a sleep study completed, we can begin to work together to find an effective solution. It’s important to note that even if your child is not diagnosed with sleep apnea, these treatments can be beneficial in helping them sleep soundly regardless.

The traditional sleep apnea treatment is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or a CPAP. This device pumps air through a tube all night to help keep your child’s airway open. Unfortunately, it requires the user to wear a large mask throughout the night, and many patients find it loud and bulky.

Fortunately, we offer state-of-the-art oral appliance sleep apnea solutions at Bay Area Sleep Solutions. These customized appliances work in similar ways to a mouthguard, allowing for an uninterrupted night’s sleep without the hassle of a CPAP device. The advantages of the devices are their comfortability, convenience, and customization to each patient’s mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it common for children to have sleep apnea?

A small percentage of children may struggle with sleep apnea for their entire lives unless they receive proper treatment. Sleep specialists have the experience and knowledge to help children get the necessary care they need. If not treated properly, your child can be at risk of severe developmental complications.

Can children outgrow their obstructive sleep apnea?

A majority of children who have mild symptoms of sleep apnea may be able to outgrow the condition over time. However, it’s important to seek treatment now so that they get the peaceful night’s rest they deserve. That way, your child can avoid other issues that may negatively impact the overall quality of their life such as irritability, difficulty concentrating in school, and inability to stay fully awake during the day.

How do I know if my child may have sleep apnea?

The most common sign of sleep apnea in children is snoring. Since most children won’t know they may be dealing with this disorder, it usually falls on the parent to figure it out for them. Another common symptom is your child may toss and turn throughout the night or even wake up during their sleep. Since the immediate impact of sleep apnea can be significant, it’s important that your child is examined by a knowledgeable sleep specialist.

Can sleep apnea cause brain damage?

Studies have shown that children who suffer from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea have significant reductions of gray matter in certain regions of the brain. The result of this is lower cognitive function as well as shifts in behavior and overall mood. That’s why parents should seek treatment for their children if they may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Schedule a Visit for Your Child With Dr. Goel

he consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be severe. This is especially true for your child. That’s why at Bay Area Sleep Solutions, Dr. Pooja Goel can give your child the care they need to get a good night’s sleep. Schedule an appointment today by calling our Santa Clara, CA office at (408) 549-1602 or by filling out our convenient online contact form. We also welcome patients who live in Campbell, North San Jose, Fruitdale, and Robertsville, CA.