Consequences Of Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea In Children
May 16, 2017 by Sound Sleep Health
Obstructive sleep apnea is a very serious medical condition, affecting an estimated 25 million adults in the United States, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. However, the possibility of children developing sleep apnea is often overlooked. Individuals of any age can develop sleep apnea, and the consequences for children differ somewhat from those seen in adults. Learning about the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can ensure that your child gets an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
Age And Sleep Apnea: Does Age Affect The Prevalence Of Sleep Apnea
Previously we discussed how not all patients with sleep apnea fit the typical profile of someone suffering from a sleep disorder. The notion that mostly middle-aged, overweight men are the ones likely to develop sleep apnea is a misconception that often leads to misdiagnosis in atypical patients with sleep apnea.
And while it’s true that heavyset men over the age of 40 are the highest “at-risk” group for having sleep apnea, it by no means is a comprehensive representation of all sleep apnea sufferers.
For example, women with sleep apnea are often mistreated for other sleep disorders such as insomnia because many general practitioners hold tight to the belief that women aren’t as likely to have sleep apnea as men.
Here we hope to shed light on how age plays a role in the development of sleep apnea, and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments that may differ based on a patient’s age. There are many risk factors for developing obstructive sleep apnea:
- Enlarged tonsils/adenoids
- Natural causes such as being born with a narrower throat of having an enlarged tongue which can fall back and block the airway.
- Frequent alcohol use
And while weight is often cited as the most likely cause of sleep apnea, these other risk factors are still very prevalent and deserving of discussion.
Who Is Most At Risk Of Developing Snoring Or Osa
- Men. For some reason, theyre more likely to develop sleep apnea or snore than women are.
- People with nasal conditions such as allergies, chronic sinusitis, or a deviated septum are at risk of snoring regularly.
- Hereditary traits. If you have a family history of snoring, youre more likely to snore or develop sleep apnea.
- Consuming alcohol relaxes the throat muscles leading to snoring. If it begins to disrupt your partners sleep, perhaps save a drink for a special occasion.
- Obese or overweight people. For some reason, people who are overweight tend to struggle with snoring and sleep apnea.
- People with narrow nasal passages. Children and adults with large tonsils and adenoids have been known to snore.
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Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Accidents And Quality Of Life
Excessive daytime sleepiness is the most noticeable, and one of the most serious, complications of sleep apnea. It interferes with mental alertness, social relations, and quality of life. People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from depression and may be at risk for sexual dysfunction.
Daytime sleepiness can also increase the risk for accidents and related injuries. Many studies have shown that people with sleep apnea have a significantly increased risk for drowsy driving and car accidents. Untreated sleep apnea is a major risk factor for injury at factory and construction work sites.
What Are The Health Risks Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to sleep deprivation from constant nightly interruptions and shallower overall sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with far-reaching health consequences that affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally, and as a result, it comes as no surprise that sleep apnea has been tied to diverse health problems.
Because of how it affects oxygen balance in the body, untreated sleep apnea raises dangers for various types of cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
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Considering The Causes Of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when any part of the airway from the tip of the nose to the lungs collapses during sleep and disrupts breathing. As such, it is often due to a persons underlying anatomy. A deviated nasal septum or enlarged turbinates in the nose may disrupt airflow. A floppy soft palate, big tonsils or adenoids, or a large tongue may block the passage at the throat.
The lining of the airway itself may prove to be an obstruction. Chronic snoring leads to vibration of the airway and damage. This may contribute to swelling along the passage that narrows it even further. In time, nerve receptors may become less responsive, and the muscles may not be able to keep sufficient tone to support the airway. Weight gain, especially when it leads to a large neck, may also worsen the situation.
Sleeping on your back may allow the tongue to fall back into the airway, further contributing to obstruction and sleep apnea. The use of alcohol, especially in the few hours prior to sleep, may make the airway muscles more collapsible as well. All of these various contributions must be taken into account when considering whether sleep apnea can go away.
Which Sleep Apnea Factors Can You Control And Conquor
ByWilliam B. Johnson | Submitted On September 05, 2008
Sleep apnea can involve dangers much more serious than just annoying your bed partner with your snores. In addition to risking falling asleep at the wheel due to excessive tiredness, you also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research contends that as many 38,000 deaths each year in America are related to the complications of sleep apnea. What this means to you is that you should take an interest in sleep apnea factors you can control. This is an ongoing process since doctors and researchers admit that they don’t know all they would like about this problem and are continuing to pursue research into both its causes and solutions.
Some Risk Factors You Cannot Control
Sleep apnea is more prevalent in those more than 30 years old. You have no control over getting old . Sleep apnea is more common — about 2.5 to 1 — in men than in women. You don’t really have control over this factor, either. You may also be more likely to develop sleep apnea if there’s a history of this disorder within your family, which is another factor you cannot control or eliminate. Race also plays a role in your likelihood to suffer sleep apnea. Caucasians are less likely to develop sleep apnea than are Blacks, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and some other groups.
Some Risk Factors You Can Control
Copyright William Johnson 2008
I’m Bill Johnson, the webmaster of www.insomnia-answers.com
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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy
When sleep apnea is severe or doesnt improve with initial treatment, your child may need continuous positive airway pressure therapy.
During CPAP therapy, your child will wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while they sleep. The mask is connected to a CPAP machine, which provides a continuous flow of air to keep their airway open.
CPAP can help the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, but it cant cure them. The biggest problem with CPAP is that children frequently dont like wearing a bulky face mask every night, so they stop using it.
Passing Along Of Genetics
When talking about Anatomy, we also should look at the passing along of genetics. If your parents or grand-parents had Sleep apnea, the higher the chances that you could have sleep apnea as well. For example, if one of your parents had a recessed chin, or a higher Mallampati score, this could also transfer over to their children. Because sleep apnea is much more studied, and treatment is more readily available now. It is very important to get screened for sleep apnea if you have any of the typical signs & symptoms.
One of the most useful tools used to determine the risk of sleep apnea is not weight related at all, and it is called the Mallampati. The Mallampati can be used to help physicians determine if your oral cavity may be causing you to be more at risk for sleep apnea. This is a test that a health care professional can check just by looking at the back of your throat when you open your mouth very wide, and stick your tongue out as far as you can. There are 4 different classes of the Mallampati:
Class 1:Class 2:Class 3:Class 4:
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Thoughts On Does Menopause Cause Sleep Apnea
Cindy I know someone whose OSA symptoms and insomnia regressed significantly after a blood transfusion.
your OSA is not mild, however, if the home study picked it up at all. its probably been causing the stuffy nose, and so thats better with the CPAP. also, there is something called a crutch reflex which can cause a stuffy nose when you lay down and go to sleep.
Yes I been going through this for years now where I wake up after 3 or 4 hours and is wide awake and can t go back to sleep. Im going through menopause and have to urinate when I get wake and feel hot and irritated . I am 55 yrs old and is overweight . I have been dieting and lost some weight . It did not help. I also have full time job and a family to take care of, so this really kills me . I dont know what to do!! I have tried different types of meds but they always make me groggy the next day .
Hi Doctor, I have more symptoms than these to name a few. After my hysterectomy I lost my hair, libido. memory, bone loss with breaks and hardware which I never experienced before.I am on a c-pap machine now and I need the dot connected to help the medical profession understand the extreme loss a woman goes through after a loss of her creative organs. It affects your body temperature, heart, breathing, and God only knows what else. Is there anyway you could help me with this problem that I have to convince the Veterans Administration I have endured this loss in so many ways that is indescribable.
How Can Treating Sleep Apnea Lower Your Risk Of Dementia
Dementia is a general medical term to describe the decline of cognitive abilities, including memory, language skills, problem-solving, and thinking that are severe enough to impact your daily life. Alzheimers Disease is one of the leading causes of Dementia.
New research from the University of Michigan Health Lab reveals that a particular form of Obstructive sleep apnea treatment could minimize the risk of developing Dementia. The treatment is called Positive Airway Pressure Therapy.
For the study, researchers analyzed people 65 and older with OSA. They discovered that the patients who used Positive Airway Pressure Therapy were less likely to be diagnosed with Dementia over the course of three years compared to those who did not use the therapy treatment. The experts say these findings further solidify just how vital good sleep is to cognitive health.
Surgery For Nasal Obstructions
Findings such as a deviated septum can contribute to snoring and other symptoms. Surgical treatment of patients with this finding may improve snoring and sleepiness. However, it does not seem to reduce the numbers of apnea or hypopnea episodes. For patients using CPAP, nasal surgery may improve compliance with using the machine and thereby improve sleep apnea.
Similar Symptoms Can Be Seen In Other Sleep Disorders
Narcolepsy refers to a sleep disorder where people experience irresistible sleep attacks at inappropriate times. It is similar to sleep apnea.Narcolepsy, however, is a neurological disorder that has its own symptoms, such as sleep paralysis and cataplexy. It is not like sleep apnea.
Sometimes, insomnia is confused with sleep apnea.There are many causes of insomnia. Only a small percentage of people with sleep apnea also suffer from it.
Sometimes, sleep apnea can be accompanied by two other sleep disorders.These include periodic limb movement during sleep , also known as a periodic leg movement disorder.
PLMD , and restless leg syndromes are both possible.These can both cause daytime sleepiness. However, a skilled sleep disorders specialist can help you avoid confusion by performing appropriate testing.
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What Is Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is when you regularly stop breathing while you sleep because your brain doesnt tell your muscles to take in air. Its different from obstructive sleep apnea, in which something physically blocks your breathing. But you can have both kinds together, called mixed sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea usually happens because of a serious illness, especially one that affects your lower brainstem, which controls breathing. In very young babies, central sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing that can last 20 seconds.
Central Sleep Apnea Happens When The Brain Is Involved
Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. It can also be trickier to diagnose and treat. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a mechanical problem that blocks the airway, central sleep apnea occurs because the brain is not sending the proper messages to the muscles that control breathing. Central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological reason, explains Dr. Capasso.
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In Obstructive Sleep Apnea
With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of the throat collapse while the child is asleep, making it harder for them to breathe.
The risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in children often differ from the risk factors for adults.
Obesity is the main trigger in adults. Being overweight can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnea in children. However, in some children, the condition is most likely caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids. The extra tissue can completely or partially block their airways.
Research suggests that African American children have , and more severe apnea, than children of other races. More studies are needed in order to understand the relationship between race and sleep apnea in children.
Other risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in children can include:
- a family history of sleep apnea
- having certain medical conditions, such as:
- abnormalities in the skull or face
You Were Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea What Now
One question that seems to pop up a lot among the people diagnosed with sleep apnea is:
Considering all the risks related to leaving sleep apnea untreated , of course, youre interested in learning what your options are. At this point, the most important thing to remember is that, fortunately, theres a lot you can do to treat sleep apnea.
Dont let this disorder, no matter how dangerous it is, scare you. Youve got this.
The first thing:
I know its easier being said than done, but even some slight changes in your behavior will go a long way in relieving some sleep apnea symptoms. So, heres what you could do:
It pretty much goes without saying that you will have to change your sleeping position, too.
As a former insomniac, I know how priceless it is to find a sleeping position that makes you fall asleep almost instantly. Thats why its so hard for me to say this:
Youre probably going to have to abandon your favorite sleeping position, especially if you tend to sleep on your back quite often. The thing is, some people start experiencing sleep apnea merely because theyre sleeping on their backs.
Heres what happens:As youre lying on your back, your tongue and the soft tissue in the back of your throat are more likely to block your airway a textbook example of obstructive sleep apnea, if Ive ever seen one.
Anyway, Id say its time to switch to sleeping on your side.
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Raining Cats And Dogs
I fondly recall one patient who came to see me due to worsening headaches. She told me about how miserable she was from not only her daily headaches, but also from her constant fatigue and worsening memory. While we were talking, I could not help but notice the fur all over her black fleece and black pants. After making this observation, I asked, “Do you have a dog?” and she said, “Yes, I have two dogs and three cats.” I then asked, “Where do your pets sleep?” She replied, “On my bed with me and my husband.” Given the pet-ential for sleep interruptions, I recommended that she stop sharing the bed with her pets, and keep them two closed doors away from the bedroom. Keeping them just outside the bedroom door would surely lead to clawing on the door and other noises that would interrupt her sleep. After following just this simple advice, she experienced a significant improvement of her headaches, fatigue, and memory. I, on the other hand, experienced a significant improvement of the amount of animal fur on the furniture and floor of my office.
What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a persons airway becomes blocked during sleep. Multiple factors have been found to increase the risk of blockage and OSA:
- Anatomical characteristics. The size and positioning of a persons neck, jaw, tongue, tonsils, and other tissue near the back of the throat can directly affect airflow.
- Obesity. Being overweight is a leading cause of OSA and may be an underlying risk factor in up to 60% of cases. Obesity contributes to anatomical narrowing of the airway, and research has found that a 10% increase in weight can equate to a six-fold increase in OSA risk.
- Sleeping on your back. This sleeping position makes it easier for tissue to collapse around the airway and cause blockages.
- Nasal congestion. People whose ability to breathe through the nose is reduced because of congestion are more likely to experience OSA.
- Hormone abnormalities. Hormone conditions like hypothyroidism and acromegaly may increase the risk of OSA by causing swelling of tissue near the airway and/or contributing to a persons risk of obesity.
In CSA, breathing is affected in a different way than in OSA. Instead of an obstruction causing breathing lapses, the problem arises in how the brain communicates with the muscles responsible for respiration. In particular, the brain stem fails to adequately perceive the levels of carbon dioxide in the body, leading to breathing that is slower and shallower than it should be.
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