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Do you have a child with sleep apnoea?

They may struggle to breathe and have restless sleep. There are often breathing pauses which may end with a gasping or choking noise. As the child struggles to breathe, they may wake up briefly. This may lead to the child sleeping in strange positions. They may sweat a lot when they sleep. In some cases they will wet the bed. In the morning they may wake up with a dry mouth, a headache or confusion.

 

What symptoms of sleep apnoea would you see during the day?

Because of the events during sleep, the child with sleep apnoea may have a number of problems during the day. Infants may feed poorly, fail to gain weight and be delayed developmentally. Older children may have problems with their behaviour, e.g. being hyperactive, aggressive, having trouble learning and/or not being able to focus well.

Being sleepy during the day may lead to personality changes, not doing well at school and problems with how they get on with others. A child with sleep apnoea may lag behind in many areas of development. They may get frustrated and depressed. In the long term, if sleep apnoea is not treated it may cause heart problems and high blood pressure.

 

What is the cause of sleep apnoea?

In a child, the most common cause of snoring and sleep apnoea is larger than normal tonsils and adenoids. Other risk factors such as obesity, the shape of the skull, jaw position and the size of the tongue may be involved.

E.g. a child with Down syndrome has a larger tongue that may block the airway and sleep apnoea is more common children with a small or receding jaw, those who have had surgery on a cleft palate.

 

Should I seek help?

while only 1 - 3% of children suffer from sleep apnoea, the impact can include issues with daytime learning, behaviour, and cardiovascular health.  If you are worried about snoring or sleep apnoea in your child, you should speak with your GP or dentist to help asses the situation.  They may refer you to see a sleep physician.  The friendly staff at bcdental can help you book an appointment; 9589 2675

 

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