Screening for Pediatric Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common yet very serious sleep disorder that can affect the quality of your life. People with this disorder constantly experience their breathing stopping and starting all through the night. More importantly, it is not limited to adults.
The disorder can manifest in children as well and is called pediatric sleep apnea. Considering how disruptive this can be, pediatric sleep apnea needs to be treated right away.
One of the classic signs of sleep apnea is snoring. However, in the case of sleep apnea in children, snoring is not a very common symptom. Rather, infants and children with the condition tend to have an overall disruptive sleep.
Other symptoms in the night include constant pauses in breathing, coughing, choking, sweating, breathing through the mouth, wetting the bed, and experiencing nighttime terrors. Disturbed sleep in the night can affect their whole day.
As a result, symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea in the day include having trouble concentrating or learning in school, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, and weight gain problems. What makes pediatric sleep apnea so dangerous is that children may not realize these symptoms themselves and continue experiencing problems.
That's why you will want to keep a close eye on them yourself and if you do notice any of these symptoms, contact us to schedule a checkup right away.
Fortunately, pediatric sleep apnea can be treated to reduce the severity of the symptoms and allow your children to live a normal and healthy life. However, before you get to the treatment, you have to diagnose the problem first. So, then how does one screen for pediatric sleep apnea?
There are several ways. First, the doctor may conduct a physical exam and check the child's mouth, throat, nose, and so on. They will go through the symptoms and medical history. Finally, they will order some tests to screen and diagnose pediatric sleep apnea.
Your doctor might suggest you enter your child into a sleep study. This involves observing your child and their sleeping patterns and behaviors in an overnight sleep study. The doctor attaches sensors over the body, which measures various things.
For instance, the doctor overseeing the study will observe the child's brain wave activity during the different stages of the night, record breathing patterns, oxygen levels, pulse rate, muscle activity, and watch out for any signs of snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms.
If the doctor already strongly suspects sleep apnea but a polysomnogram is not possible at the moment, they can conduct oximetry. This test records the oxygen levels throughout the night, and the breathing patterns can help make a diagnosis. This can be done at home. However, it is not as accurate as an overnight sleep study.
An electrocardiogram can also be used to diagnose pediatric sleep apnea by checking the condition of the heart. This involves attaching sensors on the body which measure the electric impulses from the heart.
The best option is to seek professional medical help right away and talk to the doctor about the child's concerns. You can schedule an appointment with us at Summit Dental Group to screen and start treatment for pediatric sleep apnea immediately.