Pediatric Sleep Apnea & Snoring at Advanced Specialty Care
Providing pediatric sleep apnea evaluations in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk, Ridgefield and throughout Fairfield County Connecticut
Sleep-disordered breathing is a descriptive term for breathing difficulties during sleep. It can range from snoring to a more advanced form of disruption called Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing several times an hour during sleep causing fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. Though it’s very difficult to estimate the prevalence of childhood OSA because of widely varying monitoring techniques, it’s estimated that upwards of as many as 20% of children are also afflicted.
How important is sleep?
Sleep is vital for children’s daily lives and development. Without quality, restful sleep, children are tired, unable to concentrate, under perform at school and may become irritable with family and friends.
In addition to the issues above, which are bad enough, did you know that lack of restorative sleep produces significant medical consequences as well? Studies have shown that people with sleep problems are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Sleep-related disorders have been linked to seven times as many car accidents, one third of them being fatal. Sleep disturbance also decreases overall lifespan, irrespective of age, sex or body mass index.
What is Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS)?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is one of the most common and problematic sleep-related disorders that causes uncontrolled breathing patterns at night. In children, the culprit for sleep disordered breathing is usually enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids. When a child reaches deep levels of sleep, the airway relaxes, allowing enlarged adenoids to block the nasal passages. If large tonsils fall into the back of the throat, breathing can be obstructed, preventing air from entering the lungs.
The body corrects for this by entering a lighter level of sleep where your muscles have more strength so the body can breathe again, but at the expense of losing deep, restorative sleep. This can happen many times per hour, all throughout the night.
Potential Signs of Pediatric Sleep Apnea in Children
If you notice that your child has any of the above symptoms, a pediatric ENT specialist should evaluate them. In some cases, a specialist will be able to make a diagnosis of sleep disorders based on history and a physical examination. In other cases, additional testing such as a sleep test may be recommended. A sleep study is an objective test for sleep-disordered breathing and is generally performed in a sleep laboratory or hospital. At Advanced Specialty Care, we offer child-focused treatment with one of our highly skilled pediatric ENT physician specialists.
How is Sleep Apnea (OSAS) Treated in Children?
In children, the culprit for sleep disordered breathing is usually enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids. When a child reaches deep levels of sleep, the airway relaxes, allowing enlarged adenoids to block the nasal passages. If large tonsils fall into the back of the throat, breathing can be obstructed. Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids, otherwise known as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is generally considered the first line treatment. Not every child with snoring should undergo tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy unless potential risks exist. Most patients exhibit a dramatic improvement after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, however additional treatments such as weight loss, use of continuous positive airway pressure, or additional surgical procedures may sometimes be required.
If you think your child could be suffering from any sleep-related breathing problems, a consultation with an Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist is in order. At Advanced Specialty Care, our Board Certified ENT Physicians are able to diagnose and treat sleep disorders and other conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea in adults, children and infants. Please call (203) 830-4700 to make an appointment at any of our five convenient offices throughout Connecticut in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.