The short answer, Yes, your child can have pediatric OSA. Sleep apnea can affect young people of any age, ethnicity, and genetic makeup. This article will go over some risk factors and consequences. as well as treatment options for you and your child.
Precautions must be taken, but your child could grow out of any Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) issues. SDB’s can range anywhere from light snoring, infrequent stoppages in breathing, to severe obstructive sleep apnea with heavy snoring with persistent apnea’s.
“Approximately 10 percent of children snore regularly and about 2-4 % of the pediatric population has OSA. Recent studies indicate that mild SDB or snoring may cause many of the same problems as OSA in children.” (Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing/Obstructive Sleep Apnea)
A sleep physician will determine whether or not your child has sleep apnea, or is on the path to develop OSA.
“Currently there are no universally accepted guidelines as to when children’s OSA is sufficiently severe as to warrant treatment. Unlike adults, normal children rarely experience obstructive apnea events. Consequently, most pediatric sleep specialists regard an apnea index (AI) of more than 1 or an apnea hypopnea index (AHI) of 1.5 as abnormal and most recommend treatment of any child with an AI greater than 5. (An apnea index includes only respiratory events with an absence of airflow and does not include hypopneas, or respiratory events with reduced air flow). In the case of an AHI of 5 to10 (mild to moderate OSA) or more than 10 in a child who is 12 or younger, which indicates moderate to severe pediatric OSA, the decision to treat is usually straightforward.” (Children’s Sleep Apnea)
*Above all, make sure your child is eating a well-balanced diet, and getting enough physical exercise.
The most common pediatric OSA treatment for your child is a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy (surgical removal of tonsils and adenoids) In simple cases, the operation is effective 70-90% of the time.
Your next option is PAP treatment if the surgery does not work or is not applicable. CPAP therapy (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is done via a device that pushes air through your child’s airway. Air flows through a hose that connects to a mask on the child’s face.
A sleep study (titration) determines the pressure settings of the machine. You should re-check your child’s pressure needs due to the rapidly changing physical aspects of your child. Annually is a good place to start.
NOTE: If you’ve heard that CPAP can be difficult to adjust to your aren’t wrong. For children, however, the challenge can be even more of a hassle. I assure you that the treatment is comforting once your child realizes the benefits. (sleeping better, not being tired, being more “themselves”)
Treat your child regularly for any seasonal alergies and/or coughs, colds, asthma, and acid re-flux. As a result, these issues will make their pediatric OSA worse.
Support groups are an underrated source of comfort. One great option for you and your child is a program called A.W.A.K.E. This group has factions all over the nation. They consist of discussion groups, info, and more information about pediatric OSA.