Sleep apnea is often thought of as an adult’s condition, but it is something that children can have as well. In the case of children, the cause of sleep apnea is often due to enlarged adenoids or tonsils blocking the airway during sleep. The condition tends to occur most often in overweight children, but anyone can be affected. At Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, our expert ENT specialists have years of experience diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea in children of all ages.
Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a condition which can significantly interfere with a child’s sleep habits. Because of the airway blockage at night while the muscles are relaxed, a child may not get a full, restful night’s sleep, as they will be tossing and turning and waking up all night long. In addition, children with OSA have a tendency to snore, and they may try to sleep in an odd position, with their head tilted back to try to facilitate breathing.
The lack of sleep caused by OSA can cause problems in the daytime, as well. Children who don’t get enough sleep tend to be irritable, with shorter attention spans and a lack of concentration ability. This can interfere with performance at school, as well as socializing with peers. These side effects make it all the more important to see a qualified doctor about diagnosis and treatment, such as those at Pediatric ENT Associates.
Treatment Options for OSA in Children
There are a variety of treatment options available for children who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, but the most common is tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, or T&A, surgery. As the most likely cause of OSA is enlarged adenoids or tonsils, removing them will often solve the problem. Your expert surgeon will let you know if this is the best option for your child.
Other treatment options include losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, if the child is overweight. If a healthier lifestyle does not solve the problem, then other measures will be taken. In some cases, T&A surgery is not enough to completely eliminate OSA. If this happens, there is a machine available called a CPAP, standing for “continuous positive airway pressure.” This machine can be used to help your child breathe more easily at night through continuous air blowing, thus keeping the airway open during sleep.
Schedule an Appointment with an ENT Specialist in Birmingham
If your child appears to be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced doctors at PENTA. To learn more about this condition and to make an appointment, just call (205) 831-0101today.