Sleep Apnoea in Children
Replay of our webinar - Sleep Apnoea in Children on the 16th September 2021
Watch the video to learn why regular snoring and pauses in breathing is not normal in children from sleep professionals, Professor Heather Elphick (paediatric medical advisor of our charity) and Janine Reynolds - both from the Sheffield Children's Hospital's Sleep Services Department. Listen to Carolanne Murphy, trustee of our charity and Mum to 3 children with sleep apnoea.
Sleep Apnoea is by no means a condition specific to adults, and in fact when adults get diagnosed they can often trace the signs and symptoms back to their own childhood. The British Lung Foundation here in the UK state "OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) is quite common and may affect up to 1 in 30 children. It affects boys and girls equally." There is a wealth of information on their website for OSA in Children.
Central Sleep Apnoea also affects children in the same way it affects adults, due to neuromuscular conditions, brain stem problems, certain medications and other causes - plus it can be idiopathic. The risk of Sleep Apnoea is also high in people with Down's Syndrome. As with adults, children can also have Mixed/Complex Sleep apnoea.
One of the biggest causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in children is large tonsils and/or adenoids, and children have a much higher success rate of being cured by tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy than adults.
ADHD is often misdiagnosed in children who have undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea and other sleep disorders, yet when they get diagnosed and treated, usually daytime symptoms of ADHD will either improve or even totally reverse.
Dr Stephen Sheldon, a pioneer in the field of paediatric sleep, explains in the video below why it's important to evaluate the sleep in ADHD sufferers, as in his opinion, the root cause in 75% of these children is due to a sleep disorder.
Below is a short story of one mother's quest to discover the real truth of what was causing her son's dreadful battle with what appeared to be ADHD, and it has a lovely ending for Connor and his family. The relief must truly have been miraculous for them!
Signs To Watch Out For During Sleep
Causes for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in Children:-
If You Suspect Your Child May Have Sleep Apnoea
There are several routes to take, but the most important one is TAKE ACTION NOW. Untreated Sleep Apnoea can affect the brain and other organs, but a study published in 2012 confirmed that Brain Injury And Cognitive Deficits Reverse With Treatment Of Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnea, so the sooner it is treated the better!
It is NOT normal for a child to snore or stop breathing on a regular basis during sleep. Once the Sleep Apnoea is treated - whether it be via tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, CPAP or other means, most children will sleep safely and soundly, and so will the parents and carers - just importantly they will be protected from the damage untreated Sleep Apnoea can cause!
If your child does need to use a CPAP machine or a non-invasive ventilator, which will not only keep them safely breathing whilst sleeping, but will also improve the health and well being during the day here are some helpful resources:
A lovely book, 'The Magical Mask' which is free to download, based on a story by Keren Stronach who used it to help her own daughter to wear her CPAP mask. Please click on the image to download and print.
'A Monkey, Mouse and CPAP Machine' book to purchase by the late Marion Maz Mason and her son Steve B Mason (click image to view)
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