Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is more common in older people, affects up to 5% of children, particularly those between the ages of 2 and 6. Children who have pediatric sleep apnea may snore, be restless at night, and feel exhausted throughout the day.
Early identification of obstructive sleep disorder is critical because therapy may avoid behavioral problems, delayed development, excessive tiredness, heart problems, and other difficulties. Modvigil 200(Provigil) and Modalert 200 is used to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy and residual sleepiness in certain cases of sleep apnea. Scientists believe the drug affects the sleep-wake centers in the brain. The most common side effect is a headache.
What Is Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disease in which the upper region of a child’s airway becomes blocked or narrowed, limiting the quantity of air that reaches the lungs. As a consequence, respiration may be impeded or impaired.
OSA in children is characterized by periods of shallow breathing (hypopnea) or no breathing at all (apnea). Airway obstructions may be intermittent or persistent. The upper airway is either partly or totally blocked up for a brief period of time during intermittent obstruction. With persistent blockage, the upper airway partly collapses for a longer period of time.
Little children with OSA are more prone than adults to have sluggish and shallow breathing rather than total pauses or apneas. When their respiratory patterns shift, young children are less likely to wake up.
What Are the Signs of Pediatric Sleep Apnea?
Among the nighttime symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in children are:
Breathing via the mouth
Coughing or choking at night
Breathing difficulties or no breathing periods
Sweating at night
Daytime OSA symptoms include:
Aggression, difficulty paying attention, or hyperactivity are examples of behavioral changes.
Afternoon exhaustion or a desire for more frequent naps
Headaches in the morning
A voice that sounds “nasal.”
Inadequate development milestones in babies
Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea Causes
Obstructive sleep disorder in children is caused by the upper airway narrowing or closing during sleep.
The empty area behind the nose and mouth called the upper airway. The throat muscles keep the upper airway open for breathing. These muscles relax during sleep yet retain adequate tone and form for airflow.
Yet, if a child’s airway is narrower than usual or the muscles aren’t working correctly, relaxed tissue may compress the airway, causing breathing issues like obstructive sleep disorder.
Children’s Risk Factors:
Many diseases may cause a child’s upper airway to narrow or get blocked, resulting in obstructive sleep apnea.
Adenoids and tonsils enlargement: Between the ages of 2 and 8, the adenoids and tonsils in a child’s throat become bigger in relation to the rest of the airway, generally as a result of respiratory infections and inflammation. At moments of relaxation, this tissue is prone to partly obstructing the airway.
Obesity: Children with OSA who are overweight or obese are more likely to have trouble breathing at night. Overweight young adolescents, like overweight adults with obstructive sleep apnea, have extra fat in the face and neck, which exerts pressure on the upper airway.
Variations in face shape: Atypical bone and muscle structure, particularly in newborns with OSA, increases the risk of the airway closing overnight. Youngsters with tiny lower jaws or an overbite are also more likely to develop sleep apnea.
Some neurological or genetic diseases: Because of the impact these conditions may have on the airway muscles, children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Prader-Willi syndrome should be evaluated for OSA.
Several risk factors, in addition to these physical characteristics, enhance the chance of pediatric OSA.
OSA is more likely in children who have biological relatives who have a sleep-related respiratory condition.
Children born preterm or with siblings, such as twins or triplets, are more prone to develop OSA.
Cigarette smoke in the house may cause snoring, breathing problems, and OSA.
Infants have extra risk factors for developing OSA, in part because their anatomy differs from that of adults.
Neck posture: Even little changes in neck position make a major effect in baby airway strength. Infants that sleep with their heads close to their chests may have a partly blocked upper airway.
Nasal blockages: Since newborns breathe more via their noses than their mouths, any obstructions inside the nose might make it difficult for them to breathe. Nasal breathing may be hampered by thick secretions, irritation, and infection.
Sleep deprivation, such as that caused by sickness or environmental causes, increases an infant’s chances of developing sleep disorder. Babies with little undisturbed sleep may have poor respiratory muscle control and wake up during apnea episodes.
Possible Sleep Apnea Consequences in Children
If neglected, pediatric sleep disorder may lead to both medical and psychological issues. OSA-related behavioral issues may have an influence on a child’s learning and socializing, while a lack of adequate sleep can hamper their growth and physical development.
Some of the consequences of sleep apnea in children include:
Growth retardation and weight gain
Blood pressure that is too high
Heart function is impaired.
Emotional and academic difficulties
How Can Doctors Identify Sleep Apnea in Children?
The child’s medical history, physical exam, and sleep tests may identify sleep disorder.
Not all sleep disturbances imply OSA. Nonetheless, caregivers should focus on loud snoring at least three evenings a week, nocturnal breathing interruptions, and new learning issues. Doctors should address these symptoms.
Doctors use a kid’s medical history, including snoring, coughing, bedwetting, and tiredness, from the child and caregivers. They may also inquire about any respiratory or neurological diseases the kid has had and any family history of sleep-related breathing difficulties.
Doctors usually measure a child’s height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. They check the ears, nose, and throat for OSA-related structural characteristics.
In a kid with obstructive sleep apnea, a clinician may notice the following characteristics:
Nasal passageways swollen
Jaw is little.
Having difficulty swallowing
The roof of the child’s mouth has a lofty, thin palate.