Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

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Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018 at 6:53 pm    

Children are not the demographic most commonly associated with sleep apnea, but they are capable of being affected by it. Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a child stops breathing during sleep, usually because of a blockage or obstruction in the airway.

The effects of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea are much different than adult sleep apnea, as adults customarily suffer from daytime fatigue while children exhibit behavioral issues. Children with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea may begin performing poorly in school, have difficulty concentrating, and begin acting out.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), an estimated 1 to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, many being between 2 and 8 years of age. The ASAA said studies suggested that as many as 25 percent of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder could actually have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

Most parents can tell when their children are having difficult times sleeping, but they are frequently clueless about what to do when they have concerns. If a parent suspects their child might have sleep apnea, the ASAA recommends seeking out a pediatrician who specializes in sleep disorders.

Diagnosing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

The ASAA states that polysomnography “is the only tool for definitive diagnosis and assessment of the severity of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.” Polysomnography is more commonly referred to as a sleep study.

In general, the common symptoms of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Sleeping in odd positions
  • Restless sleep
  • Behavioral problems
  • Snorting, coughing or choking
  • Frequent infections
  • Mouth breathing
  • Bed wetting
  • Sleep terrors

A child may be more likely to have pediatric obstructive sleep apnea if they are overweight, have a family history of sleep apnea, have Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, suffer from mouth or jaw issues impacting breathing, or simply have a large tongue. In most cases, the cause of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids is the most common treatment for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. The ASAA reported that such operations result in complete elimination of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea symptoms 70 to 90 percent of the time.

When adenotonsillectomy does not completely resolve the symptoms, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy may be recommended. PAP therapy could also be prescribed before surgery in some cases.

Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)

Some children who exhibit sleep apnea symptoms may suffer from a condition known as pediatric sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF), SDB is a general term for breathing difficulties during sleep that can range from frequent loud snoring to obstructive sleep apnea.

SDB involves many of the same symptoms as pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. It also commonly involves the same treatment, as removal of the tonsils and adenoids often resolves many issues related to SDB.

Contact Us

Silent Night Therapy helps people resolve sleep apnea issues. Call (631) 983-2463 or contact us online to let our team help you explore your sleep options.


How Sleep Apnea Detection saved Major League Baseball Player Mike Napoli

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 4:30 am    

Mike Napoli is a professional baseball player who has played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians over the course of 12 seasons. He was primarily a catcher until 2013 when he became a first baseman and a designated hitter.

As an October 2014 story on the Major League Baseball (MLB) website noted, Napoli had endured a season riddled with minor injuries when he agreed to undergo surgery to correct a sleep apnea problem. In April 2015, Sports Illustrated reported that Napoli, who was 33 years of age at the time of the procedure, had suffered from severe sleep apnea since his early 20s.

According to Sports Illustrated, Dr. Leonard Kaban, Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, reconfigure Napoli’s chin, jaw, and sinuses in a seven-hour procedure called maxillomandibular advancement. “I used to wake up 50 or a hundred times a night,” Napoli told Sports Illustrated. “Now I’m actually sleeping. I’m not tired all the time.”

Sports Illustrated reported that Napoli had all of the classic symptoms of a person with severe sleep apnea: continual fatigue, loud snoring, the absence of dreams, and moments in which he would stop breathing. Sports Illustrated noted that people with severe, untreated obstructive sleep apnea have a two- to-threefold higher risk of premature death than those without the condition.

Napoli told Bleacher Report that he was always scared to go to sleep. He said he used to leave the latch on the door to his hotel room open in case paramedics or emergency personnel needed to get in.

“When I played in Texas, I was always tired,” Napoli told Sports Illustrated. “It got to the point where I would come out of games dizzy. I thought it was my blood sugar, and I tried to play through it.”

Sports Illustrated reported that Napoli only got tested for a sleep disorder because he repeatedly nodded off while driving. He was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, and was prescribed multiple treatments, including breathing machines, anti-anxiety medication, and mouth guards, but none worked.

When Napoli joined the Red Sox in 2013, Sports Illustrated reported a room inside Fenway Park was set aside for him to rest before games. He finally decided to do something after the 2014 season.

According to Bleacher Report, Napoli’s surgery involved him being in the intensive-care unit for two-and-a-half days and placed on an all-liquid diet for six weeks. Napoli still has plates and screws inside his skull.

Napoli told Bleacher Report that he still does not have any feeling in his lower lip, front teeth, or the roof of his mouth. He was told that could last up to a year, and there is a chance the feeling might never return.

“It’s crazy how I feel,” Napoli told Bleacher Report. “It’s been night and day for me.”

Not all people necessarily require maxillomandibular advancement to address sleep apnea problems. Silent Night Therapy can help you resolve your sleep apnea issues. Let our team see how we can help when you call (631) 983-2463 or contact us online today.