We frequently tell you about the signs and symptoms of the sleep breathing disorder sleep apnea in adults and children, but do you know what the signs are in infants? Study results presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2020 International Conference show that while between 1 and 5 percent of all infants have the condition, diagnosing sleep apnea in babies and toddlers can be difficult. Dr. Ward and the team at Face ForWard Orthodontics sees patients of all ages for sleep apnea and airway issues related to orthodontics; the team even treats infants. While sleep apnea may be difficult to diagnose in some instances, it shouldn’t be brushed off as something they’ll outgrow.
Babies and Sleep Apnea
One of the things that make diagnosing infants difficult is their sleep cycle. Let’s face it, babies rarely sleep through the night right away, and for some, it can take months or even years until they get a full night’s sleep. Also, babies are not often awake for long stretches, making it hard to tell if their tiredness is caused by breathing interruptions during sleep.
Babies also sometimes have erratic breathing when they’re young, so you may not immediately notice that the interruption in breathing is related to sleep.
Taking these things into consideration, there are some things you can look out for, such as snoring, gasping and choking for breath.
But, Won’t They Outgrow It?
While some babies do outgrow their sleep apnea, many do not, which means the side effects of the sleep breathing disorder can persist, causing serious health issues. Health problems linked to sleep apnea can include diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Some other effects on children can include obesity, difficulty solving problems, behavioral problems and developmental delays. Children with untreated sleep apnea can also struggle in school, experiencing anxiety and outbursts as well as learning difficulties.
Have you noticed that your infant or toddler stops breathing during sleep, snores or gasps for breath? Call Face ForWard Orthodontics in Dallas, Texas, at 214-304-8485 to schedule a consultation today.