Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) occurs in about two percent of children with the peak age ranging from two to five years of age. But OSAS can occur at any age.
Although obese children are more apt to be susceptible to sleep apnea, children with birth injuries, down syndrome, sickle cell disease, or other conditions that cause a narrowing of the upper airway may also develop this condition.
It is also important to mention sleep apnea is not contagious, and many children outgrow the symptoms within a few years. However, it is always wise to seek expert medical advice from a pediatrician who understands OSAS.
Monitoring Poor Sleep Quality
Question for Dr. Leia: My daughter snores and I believe that she could be getting a better night’s sleep—her breathing is not steady and changes patterns through the night. Any suggestions for a mother who doesn’t want her daughter to get surgery?
Dr. Leia’s Answer: Sleep apnea in children can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition which requires immediate medical evaluation.
Have you had your child tested for sleep apnea by her pediatrician? If not, then I would highly recommend that you take your child in to her doctor to be examined and tested.
Testing Children for Sleep Apnea
Some symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- heavy irregular breathing
- other loud night-time nasal noises
- bed wetting
- excessive night sweating
- personality or behavioral changes
- daytime sleepiness
Your child’s doctor can test for sleep apnea by using a polysomnographic machine. This device monitors the brain waves, respiration, eye movements, muscle tension, and oxygen levels in the blood. This is a painless, non-invasive test which uses electrodes to hook your child up to a computerized machine.
Breathing Obstructed by Enlarged Tonsils
It is common for children to have enlarged tonsils or adenoids which obstruct their breathing.
Conventional medicine usually recommends removal or surgery for these enlarged glands. However, sometimes, homeopathy may be able to shrink the tonsils and adenoids.
Along with a restricted diet and removal of all allergenic foods, many children have not needed surgery.
Please see a licensed holistic practitioner or naturopathic doctor who specializes in homeopathy to match the correct homeopathic remedy for your child.
However, I need to caution you first to obtain a diagnosis from your doctor before embarking upon a natural solution in order to make sure that the problem is not life-threatening or severe.
Another solution, by your doctor’s prescription, could be a C-PAP machine, which may, at first, be quite intimidating to a child, but it is extremely beneficial in keeping the child’s airway open for easy nocturnal breathing. Ask your doctor if this machine is right for your child.
Other causes of sleep apnea include a deviated septum, an enlarged tongue, facial or jaw deformities, polyps or other obstructions to the airway.
I hope that you find this information valuable in your search for the solution for your child’s breathing problems.