Early intervention promotes healthy development in childhood by supporting restorative sleep.
Yes, as you age, your risk of developing sleep apnea goes up. It is one of many risk factors, right alongside being born male, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. However, younger and older individuals alike can be diagnosed with this form of disordered breathing. In fact, parents and caregivers are often surprised to hear that even children as young as two have been diagnosed with this potentially life-threatening sleep disorder. As with adults, promptly treating children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is essential to avoid the many dangerous health complications.
Furthermore, at VIA Health Group in Canton, Ohio, we appreciate that pediatric patients have one-of-a-kind needs, and sleep apnea presents unique challenges. Notably, OSA can interfere with your child’s physical and mental health, emotional development, and overall well-being in their formative years.
Sleep apnea in children
The term “apnea” literally refers to a cessation of breath or pauses in breathing when a child is relaxed and sleeping. Children with sleep apnea may stop breathing, over and over again, for seconds or even minutes at a time. Youth with severe OSA have been known to experience interruptions in their breathing 30 or more times each hour. As scary as it sounds, the reality is children with sleep apnea are being awakened with a start by their brains; sensing that they can no longer breathe, the brain rouses the body as a form of self-preservation. Continually interrupted sleep is not healthy. This process results in a dip in children’s oxygen levels and stresses bodily organs and systems, including the heart and liver.
Symptoms to watch for
Your child may be suffering from a sleep-related breathing condition. The symptoms may be shared with other common conditions. So, it is easy to confuse disorders like sleep apnea with other medical problems. A few of the common signs that warrant further investigation at our office include:
- Habitual or loud snoring
- Open-mouth breathing
- Noticeable cessation or pauses in breathing during sleep
- Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Problems waking up your child
- Impaired growth
- Chronic, unexplained illnesses
- “Acting out” and other behavioral problems
- Poor academic performance
Benefit from our expertise
Other providers may attempt to “treat” childhood sleep apnea with oral devices; however, these devices fail to resolve the symptoms because they do not correct the underlying problem. Our craniofacial sleep medicine certified physician, Dr. Jeff Danner, accurately identifies the root cause of your child’s disordered breathing. He then recommends oral appliances, therapies, and early interventions that actually correct underlying anatomical or jaw imbalances. These devices and approaches support actual treatment. They resolve the causes of sleep apnea effectively and quickly. So, patients do not need to use oral or breathing devices their entire lives to promote a basic, healthy function like restorative sleep and respiration.
At VIA Health Group, we welcome your call at (330) 915-3390. Dr. Danner can answer any questions you may have and start the process that leads to your child’s happiest, healthiest life and supports healthy development during this critical life stage.