Snoring Children May Have Sleep Apnea

Snoring in children is not normal, and may be caused by sleep apnea. If not diagnosed and treated, it not only causes a reduced quality of life but also has many developmental consequences. This is discussed in detail in a recent article in the New York Times.

A article in the New York Times examines the serious problem of snoring in children, its diagnosis, causes and treatments, and the side effects and serious consequences of not taking it seriously.

Sleep medicine is one of the fastest growing fields in health care today and researchers are discovering new health implications from poor quality sleep in nearly every field of medicine. With recent discoveries into sleeps’ implications, health care providers of all specialties are beginning to view sleep on the same level as nutrition as a component to good health.

In the medical study, the author discussed the possible treatments for children with sleep apnea, which include removal of tonsils and adenoids. The article discusses the research that Dr. David Gozal, then at the University of Rochester, and colleagues reported in 2008 in Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. The research found that “children who snored frequently and loudly during early childhood were at increased risk for lower academic performance later in life, well after snoring had resolved.”

Quoting from the article: “Dr. Gozal, a pediatric sleep specialist now at the University of Chicago Medical Center, warned that “the presence of snoring should not be viewed as a normal feature of sleeping children, since it indicates the presence of increased upper airway resistance.” “Dr. Gozal said a proper diagnosis should always precede surgery. He suggested that pediatricians routinely ask parents six questions at every well-child visit:

■ Does your child stop breathing during sleep?

■ Does your child struggle to breathe while asleep?

■ Do you ever shake your child to make him or her breathe again when asleep?

■ How often does your child snore?

■ Do you have any concerns about your child’s breathing while asleep?

■ How loudly does your child snore?”

Children with sleep apnea and even milder forms of sleep breathing disorders (SBD) are not likely to “outgrow” their condition as they mature. In fact, it will likely become worse. Poor quality sleep due to sleep breathing disorders has been proven to increase calorie consumption and weight gain which is correlated with increased risk of sleep breathing disorders. The weight of excess tissues around the neck causes the airway to narrow or collapse. The problem begins to spiral out of control in this manner:
Poor sleep –> Increased calorie consumption –> Weight gain –> Occluded airway during sleep (apnea or SBD) –> Poor sleep…….

The article discusses the causes and treatments of sleep apnea in children, and emphasizes the importance of a sleep study in children who snore. Dr. Vernon Rowe, board certified neurologist and sleep medicine physician at the Rowe Neurology Institute has pointed out that the symptoms of sleep apnea are similar to those that are often mistakenly diagnosed as ADHD. Children who snore or experience poor sleep become wired, not tired. “Unfortunately, you can add kids with ADHD to a long list where medical professionals, by using drugs to treat symptoms, may be doing more harm than good because they are not addressing the root cause of the problem.”

As the medical director at the Institute’s Sleep Disorder Center, Dr. Rowe recorded this video message for parents for children who may have sleep disorders. It goes into more detail about the need for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea inchildren, including the long term consequences of letting it go untreated, and its connection to ADHD.

Dr. Rowe recorded this video message for parents who are concerned with their child’s sleep and or behavior.

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