Sleep Apnea In Children

Disordered breathing like obstructive sleep apnea can occur in children as well as in adults. An estimated three to 12 percent of children snore, and one to 10 percent of children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Most children with sleep apnea experience relatively mild symptoms and can outgrow the condition, but others are at risk for complications like cardiopulmonary disease, behavioral problems, and failure to thrive.



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Sleep apnea is marked by pauses in breathing during sleep, and the condition often involves snoring, gasping, or choking as the person struggles to breathe during these episodes. In general, sleep apnea in children is caused by the enlargement of the adenoids or tonsils. This disorder can occur even in newborns and may create long-term health concerns if not treated. An enlarged tongue may also contribute to long-term snoring and sleep apnea in children.

Another increasingly common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children is obesity. Children who are overweight or obese can have sleep-apnea-related breathing problems because of fat deposits in the neck and throat that narrow their airways. Alternatively, existing health conditions such as Down syndrome, a cleft palate, and cerebral palsy can create abnormalities in the tongue and jaw or may cause neuromuscular deficits, which may lead to sleep apnea and other breathing issues.

Sleep apnea in children is most common between ages three and six, when adenoids and tonsils are at their largest in relation to child-size airways. A child who snores chronically should be examined by a doctor or an otolaryngologist. He or she may suggest weight loss to reduce fat deposits or surgery to remove the enlarged tonsils or adenoids. For children who are not candidates for surgery or who experience persistent snoring even after surgery, doctors recommend wearing a sleep mask for at least three hours a night to reduce symptoms and promote healthy breathing.

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Sleep Apnea As A Contributing Factor To Obesity

In addition to making sleep apnea more likely, obesity can also occur as a result of sleep apnea. Although this relationship is not completely understood by researchers yet, the elevated risk of obesity among sleep apnea patients appears to be caused by the effects of sleep deprivation and its effects on hunger and satiety hormones.



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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 65% of Americans are now overweight or obese. Sleep apnea and the resulting poor sleep often prompts people to eat more. This is likely due to impaired hormone activity created by sleep deprivation, which leads to harmful metabolic changes. These metabolic and hormonal changes are why many individuals who suffer from sleep apnea have a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.

When appetite-regulating hormones are operating improperly, it is much easier to overeat and gain weight. Lack of sleep decreases the body’s levels of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for signaling the brain when the body is satiated and no longer hungry. Studies have indicated that leptin levels are disrupted in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea; the extent of leptin disruption is not determined by obesity alone, implying that sleep apnea is responsible for the hormonal imbalance, disrupted appetite, and resulting weight gain.

To make matters worse, when your body is sleep-deprived, it increases its production of ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating appetite and increasing eating. These unhealthy levels of ghrelin and leptin can prompt overeating, fat storage, and excess weight. As a result, many individuals with sleep apnea are at a much higher risk for becoming overweight or obese.

Sleep is incredibly important for your overall health, and most individuals require seven to nine hours of rest each night. If you are suffering from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, see your doctor. He or she can recommend lifestyle adjustments and treatments to ensure better rest and a lower risk of weight gain.

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The Relationship Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a common condition that affects approximately 45% of adults occasionally and 25% chronically. Those who experience chronic snoring may be suffering from obstructed breathing or another serious medical condition. An estimated 75% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which involves short periods of disrupted breathing during sleep that can lead to long-term health problems.



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The most common sign of OSA is loud and continual snoring, sometimes punctuated by choking or gasping. Another common OSA symptom is fighting sleepiness throughout the day. Other symptoms of OSA include morning headaches, concentration difficulty, a dry mouth and sore throat when waking in the morning, and irritability or depression. While OSA almost always involves noisy and frequent snoring, snoring itself does not always indicate that a person has OSA.

The immediate effect of sleep apnea is that the snorer sleeps lightly and keeps his or her throat muscles tense to maintain airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get good rest, he or she is often tired during the day, which can impair job performance and jeopardize your safety. If left untreated, OSA increases your risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and other medical issues.

Snoring or OSA generally responds to treatments offered by otolaryngologists and other medical professionals. OSA is commonly treated by a nasal mask that opens the airway via exerting a small amount of positive pressure. This form of treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Adults who suffer from occasional snoring can benefit from adjusting their lifestyle to include healthy weight loss, more exercise, less alcohol, and regular sleeping patterns. If you or your sleeping partner is experiencing any snoring, impaired breathing during sleep, or increased sleepiness, see your physician to ascertain whether OSA is the cause. He or she can also suggest treatment options and lifestyle changes to relieve these symptoms.

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Reasons Why Snoring And Sleep Apnea Should Be Taken Seriously

Although snoring may seem like a normal-albeit annoying-habit, it can indicate serious health concerns. Loud and chronic snoring often suggests physiological disorders in the snorer, and the noisy condition can also create significant disruptions for the snorer and his or her bed partner. Consequently, “bad snoring is not a laughing matter. It can signify significant medical disease,” warns Kent Wilson of the University of Minnesota.



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Snoring and sleep apnea are linked, even though the two conditions are sometimes different disorders. Not everyone who snores is suffering from sleep apnea. That being said, habitual snorers are at risk for other health issues, especially for obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when airflow through the mouth and nose is obstructed by tissue or similar structures. Often, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a critical sleep disorder involving the cessation of breathing in regular episodes. These episodes are usually followed by snoring, choking sounds, or gasping as the body attempts to restore airflow. If left untreated, chronic snoring and related sleep apnea can lead to serious limitations for your health and abilities.

Health risks involved with snoring and sleep apnea include restless sleep, cardiovascular strain, low blood oxygen, chronic headaches, and potential weight gain. Additionally, relationships between snorers and those around them can become tense if the snorer is the subject of teasing or if others become resentful after constant sleepless nights. Finally, safety issues are also an issue for those affected by snoring, as fatigue can increase your risk of accidents and injury.

If you are a heavy snorer (that is, if you snore constantly regardless of your sleeping position), see your doctor for an examination of your nose, mouth, throat, and neck to determine the cause of your snoring and address any related concerns like daytime fatigue. If you doctor suspects that you may have sleep apnea, he or she will likely suggest a sleep test or refer you to a sleep specialist.

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Overdependence On Medical Science As A Way to Cure Snoring and Sleep Apnea

People who suffer from snoring or sleep apnea are often unaware of the severity of their condition and the disruption it causes for those around them. Those who do seek treatment for their symptoms may feel as though medical therapy is the only solution. As a result, individuals who snore or experience sleep apnea may become overly dependent on medical technology as they seek to cure their disorders.



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Snoring and other problems associated with sleep apnea are the result of airway obstruction, often from excess or relaxed throat tissue that vibrates during sleep. Treatments for snoring and sleep apnea are mostly focused on opening the airway to facilitate healthy breathing and prevent additional complications. These treatments range from nasal strips to full oral devices.

Less-intensive treatment options to open the nasal airway include nasal strips, decongestants, and over-the-counter nasal sprays. These options are not always effective, however, and can damage the lining of the nose or encourage dependence. More-intensive medical treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include oral devices to bring the jaw forward and open the airway, although these may not fit well or may be uncomfortable to wear every night. Additionally, oral devices often have lower compliance rates that render them less effective. Surgery is sometimes suggested for severe snoring, but it is not very effective for reducing sleep apnea.

Medical research has recently emphasized the efficacy of behavioral methods instead of medication or surgery for treating sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea. Because approximately 56% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are position-dependent snorers, many of those with this condition could benefit greatly from positional therapy enabling them to sleep on their side instead of on their back. Other lifestyle changes can be a helpful supplement or an alternative to medical treatment for less-severe cases of snoring and sleep apnea, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and exercising.

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Medical Risks Brought About By Snoring

Often, snoring is regarded as simply annoying. For many individuals who snore, however, snoring can be a significant health concern with many associated risks. Although sleep apnea is the primary associated risk with snoring, snoring-with or without sleep apnea-should be regarded as a medical concern.



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Snoring is caused by obstructed airflow during sleep. This may occur as the result of a variety of factors, such as bulky throat tissue, obstructed nasal airways, or weak muscle tone in the throat and tongue. Generally, snoring is more common among men and in those who are overweight.

Cardiovascular issues are closely tied to snoring. Researchers at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital found that snoring is associated with the thickening of the carotid arteries’ inner walls. Because these arteries carry blood to the brain, any narrowing or blockage dramatically increases your risk of stroke. Other cardiovascular issues such as elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and arrhythmias are also seen at higher rates in those who snore frequently.

Breathing and sleep-related problems are associated with snoring, particularly for snorers with sleep apnea. Sore throat, trouble concentrating, and daytime sleepiness occur frequently for people who snore. Additionally, other illnesses like gastroesophageal reflux disease are common. This is because of disordered throat closing during sleep, which causes pressure changes that can suck stomach contents back into the esophagus. Women who snore during pregnancy can experience fetal complications related to interrupted sleep. Headaches are also common among snorers, as is frequent urination during the night. Sexual dysfunction can also occur as a result of impaired sleep and relational tension with your sleeping partner.

Because snoring is considered commonplace, most people unfortunately do not pursue treatment by a medical professional. If you snore chronically, it is important to see your doctor to determine how to relieve your symptoms and treat any complications.

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Ineffectiveness of Surgical Treatment to Cure Snoring

Those who suffer from chronic snoring can experience negative side effects such as impaired sleep and a higher risk of cardiovascular issues. In addition to implementing lifestyle changes like losing weight and quitting smoking, some snorers require medical intervention to control their condition.



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The sounds of snoring are generally the result of an obstruction to the flow of air through the passages in the nose or in the back of the mouth and throat. This partially collapsible region is located near the convergence of the tongue, upper throat, soft palate, and uvula. Snoring can happen when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing, a phenomenon which is especially common while sleeping.

Although sometimes suggested as a course of treatment for snoring, surgery is rarely the wisest option. Surgical remedies for snoring are not commonly used and are only resorted to in severe cases if other methods have proved ineffective. Traditional surgery includes procedures such as uvulopalatopharygoplasty (UPPP), thermal ablation palatoplasty (TAP), somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy. These methods increase the size of your airway by removing obstructive tissues or correcting abnormalities. Alternatively, other surgical procedures involve implanting plastic cylinders into the soft palate to stiffen it and prevent it from causing the vibrations that lead to snoring.

Unfortunately, these forms of surgery are often ineffective, as they rarely cure snoring and can involve substantial risks. Additionally, patients with severe snoring are less likely to response to surgical treatment than those with mild obstructive symptoms. Significant weight loss, sleeping on your side, and other lifestyle changes are often more effective measures to improve snoring and related conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. If you find that your own efforts to treat snoring are not effective, consult your physician or an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist). He or she may recommend an oral device to bring your lower jaw or tongue forward while you sleep instead of surgery.

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Ineffectiveness of Medical Science in Dealing With Sleep Apnea

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware of the risks it poses to their health if left untreated. Unfortunately, those who do seek medical treatment do not always benefit from certain methods.



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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder involving interrupted breathing, choking, gasping, and snoring. It can be caused either by relaxed throat tissue or by issues with brain signaling. Despite the American medical system’s reliance on drug-based treatments, drugs and medications are generally ineffective in treating sleep apnea. Some of the drugs that have been suggested as treatments because of their short-term relief of some sleep apnea symptoms are Fluticasone, Donepezil, Paroxetine, and Fluoxetine (Prozac). However, none of these drugs have demonstrated any substantial relief for sleep apnea, and several can create unpleasant side effects like significant weight gain.

Oral and breathing devices appear to be better treatment options for sleep apnea relief. Oral devices are sometimes suggested to reposition your tongue and lower jaw in mild cases of sleep apnea. Alternatively, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most common option for treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. Although these forms of treatment require some adjustment to get used to them, dental devices and CPAP devices can be highly effective at ensuring appropriate breathing during sleep.

Patient compliance, however, is a major obstacle for treating sleep apnea effectively. Studies have indicated that CPAP machines and other devices, although helpful when used correctly, can have low patient compliance because of their awkward structure or extensive requirements. Additionally, although CPAP improves daytime sleepiness and cognitive performance in sleep apnea patients, its effects on prognosis, cardiovascular events, or traffic accidents is unclear.

If you are seeking treatment for sleep apnea, it is important to see your doctor to determine which methods will work best for you and to promote compliance. He or she may suggest other treatments such as surgery or supplemental oxygen and may encourage you to make lifestyle changes like losing weight to alleviate your symptoms.

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Genetics and Its Predisposition to Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can create significant health complications for many individuals. This disorder occurs when airflow obstruction during sleep is either caused by the relaxation of the soft palate and tongue, or by disrupted brain signals failing to control the respiratory muscles. This disrupted airflow leads to choking, gasping, and snoring in between episodes. Based on its cause, sleep apnea is referred to as obstructive or central, respectively. Several factors can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea, such as gender, obesity, and family medical history.



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Family history is one predictor of obstructive sleep apnea: if you have close relatives with sleep apnea, your risk of having this form of the disorder is increased. This is most likely because sleep apnea and snoring are complex traits, affected by your genetics as well as by environmental factors.

Researchers suggest that given the interrelated pathways regulating weight and other traits involved in sleep apnea, such as ventilatory control, airway muscle function, and sleep characteristics, there are genes with multiple and diverse effects that independently impact obesity and obstructive sleep apnea traits. In addition, negative environmental influences like periodic oxygen deprivation and sleep disruption that are produced by sleep apnea can interact with obesity genes and worsen the effects of snoring and sleep apnea.

Other genetic studies have also found that approximately 40% of the variation in the occurrence and severity of sleep apnea may be explained by familial factors. It seems most likely that specific genetic factors associated with craniofacial structure, body-fat distribution, and neural control of the upper airway muscles interact to create snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Multiple racial studies, chromosomal mapping, familial studies, and twin studies support the possible link between obstructive sleep apnea and genetic factors; ergo, most of the risk factors involved in sleep apnea may be regarded as genetically determined, at least in part.

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Find Out The Reasons Behind Your Snoring

Many people are affected by snoring, with 25% of adults snoring habitually. Snoring occurs when air cannot move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep, causing tissues in the nose and mouth to vibrate. Generally, this impaired airflow is created by blockage and airway narrowing, either from improper sleep posture or from abnormally shaped soft tissue in the throat. Finding out the specific cause of your snoring is essential to manage it effectively.



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Gaining extra weight is a major reason for snoring, since excess weight leads to fatty tissue and poor muscle tone. These problems can create or worsen snoring, since excess tissue can obstruct your airway and poor muscle tone limits the efficiency of your breathing. Sleep posture also prompts snoring. Sleeping flat on your back causes your throat tissue to relax towards your airway, creating additional blockage and vibration.

Age and gender can be contributing reasons for snoring. Once you reach middle age, your throat can become narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat may also diminish. This can lead to snoring that worsens as you continue to age. Before middle age, however, gender can also serve as a reason for your snoring: men are twice as likely as women to snore because of their narrower airways. This is the situation among younger adults, but after women experience menopause, they are just as likely to snore as men.

Nasal and sinus issues such as allergies or congestion can also create blocked airways by limiting inhalation, which can lead to snoring. Also, consuming alcohol or using tobacco can increase muscle relaxation and worsen snoring. Certain medications may also relax throat muscles and prompt snoring.

Chronic snoring can often indicate the presence of a more-serious medical issue such as sleep apnea. To ensure effective treatment for your snoring, speak to your doctor about suspected causes and potential treatments.

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