HOUSTON – Sleep apnea would not simply affect adults.
Christina Duth thought her daughter simply wasn’t a morning person.
“Avery’s all over the place. She’s the bear to wake up in the morning. She’s just grumpy and everybody knows you just don’t mess with Avery,” Duth mentioned.
Then she seen that Avery, now 7, had a extremely onerous time waking up, irrespective of the time of day.
“So it’s, like, at that point, I started noticing. I was like, OK, you can’t wake her up if she takes a nap. Nobody can wake her up. So, it’s at that point around 4 and 5 is when it’s, like, OK, it sunk in,” Duth mentioned.
Duth is the workplace supervisor at Dassani Dentistry, which additionally homes Sleep Houston. It was at work the place she found a doable clarification for what was happening with Avery.
“Dr. Dassani teaches a class (on sleep apnea), and just one day we’re sitting around, and it’s like, ‘This sounds just like Avery.’ All the symptoms of adult sleep apnea. We’re like, ‘Surely this couldn’t be my child.’ I mean, she’s a baby,” Duth mentioned.
As a dentist who screens her sufferers for sleep apnea, Dassani mentioned most mother and father are shocked to study youngsters can endure from sleep apnea, too.
“What we do not know, or rather, we do know, there just isn’t enough awareness out there, is that kids can be affected just the same. The signs and symptoms are different,” Dassani mentioned.
Obstructed sleep apnea occurs when a person stops respiratory for 10 seconds or a number of instances all through the evening, which ends up in fragmented sleep and grogginess and might affect health and even habits in youngsters.
Dassani mentioned the tonsils could be a useless giveaway for youngsters with sleep apnea, as a result of they will block the kid’s airway whereas asleep.
“When we’re looking at a kid when we’re doing our cleanings or exams, I look for tonsils. Are their tonsils big? Are they blocking the airway?” Dassani mentioned.
Once eliminated, some youngsters sleep usually once more.
Dassani additionally identified teeth-grinding and mouth-breathing as different typical indicators she seems for when screening. And surprisingly, habits points in class might level to sleep apnea.
“The symptoms and signs of a kid that has (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and/or sleep-disordered breathing, believe it or not, are the exact same,” Dassani mentioned.
She advises mother and father to have their youngsters checked for sleep apnea earlier than placing them on ADHD treatment.
“And there’s no such thing as a bad kid. It’s just a kid that’s tired and a kid that hasn’t been able to rest, and we can help them,” Dassani mentioned.
Dr. Mary Frances Musso is the surgical sleep director at Texas Children’s Hospital. She mentioned sleep apnea can affect youngsters of all ages.
“Sleep apnea doesn’t have any age barrier. Infants can have sleep apnea. You can be born with sleep apnea, and we know it affects adults,” Musso mentioned.
She mentioned one other shocking symptom mother and father ought to be looking out for is bedwetting, particularly for these youngsters who’ve been beforehand potty-trained.
“The medical term is enuresis, which is bedwetting. It is related to muscle relaxation, and when you go into that REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is your deeper sleep, you’re — not just those bladder muscles, but you generally, all your muscles have a tendency to relax, and that’s how it plays into having sleep apnea,” Musso mentioned.
She mentioned that although some youngsters’s sleep returns to regular after having their tonsils and adenoids eliminated, youngsters with Down syndrome have continued and better dangers for sleep apnea.
“It’s really important in those children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other cranial-facial abnormalities to have another sleep study after the surgery to make sure that the sleep apnea is cured,” she mentioned. “And as these Down syndrome kids, in particular get older, their sleep obstruction may change, so what I often see is initially it will get better, and then two to three years later, they may have sleep problems again.”
At the Texas Children’s Sleep Center, one of many largest within the area, younger sufferers bear sleep research the place they’re evaluated in a single day.
“The technologist information airflow information, in addition to EEG (an electroencephalograph), and that information how a lot the kid is sleeping and the varied phases of sleep,” mentioned Dr. Binal Kancherlam, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Sleep Center.
She mentioned the outcomes from the sleep research will decide the subsequent plan of motion. Some youngsters, like Avery, will get a CPAP machine to sleep with at evening.
“Another form of intervention we do is CPAP therapy. This involves a machine that helps to keep their airway open and help them breathe better when they’re sleeping,” Kancherlam mentioned.
Duth mentioned the distinction in Avery’s character and habits at college since being recognized with sleep apnea is like evening and day.
“Finding out that there was something going on, that she wasn’t a bad kid, that she wasn’t behaving badly,” Duth mentioned. “She was just tired. That’s what breaks my heart.”
Duth mentioned that since utilizing the CPAP machine, Avery has grown lots in her height and weight and is sleeping a lot better. She’s additionally behaving a lot better in class.
Doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital strongly encourage the mother and father of kids with Down syndrome to go to with an ear, nostril and throat physician for analysis.
Information on scheduling an examination with the Down Syndrome Respiratory Clinic can be found here.
For extra data on treating sleep problems in youngsters, click here.
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