Are there risk factors that make your child susceptible to developing sleep apnea? Yes, there are! Once you can identify the risk factors for developing this sleep breathing disorder, you can look for signs of your child’s condition and schedule a consultation with Dr. Ward for treatment options.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the chance of developing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cognitive problems.
What Are the Risk Factors?
These factors can help you to know if your child is at risk of developing childhood sleep apnea.
They snore. Children who snore regularly (outside of illness or allergies) may have sleep apnea.
They’re overweight. Being overweight can contribute to the development of sleep apnea, especially for children between the ages of 12 and 18.
They have large tonsils/adenoids. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can block the airway. And, since the throat and mouth tissues relax during sleep, they can fall and block the airway.
They have a long palate. Children who have palates that are elongated or have high arches often have breathing issues that can contribute to the development of airway collapse. This happens when the jaw grows longer than it does horizontally, resulting in a narrow airway.
They suffer from seasonal allergies. Kids with seasonal allergies often experience upper respiratory congestion and airway swelling that can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.
Can Risk Factors Be Mitigated?
Yes! Although risk factors lead to an increased chance of developing sleep apnea, there are things you can do to reduce the risk, including:
- Treating seasonal allergies with appropriate allergy medications and anti-inflammatories to reduce allergy symptoms and allow for easier breathing during sleep.
- Use of dental appliances or oral appliances that help to guide the growth of the facial bones and jaw.
- Removal of tonsils or adenoids.
- Surgical correction of anatomical anomalies such as mandibular or oral issues.
- Ventilation options such as the continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) for severe cases, in which a mask-like device is fitted to the child’s face to continuously blow air into the airway to keep it from collapsing during sleep.
Do you think your child is at risk for sleep apnea? Call us now at 214-304-8485 to schedule a consultation at Face ForWard Orthodontics.