Show Notes: Snoring Children: Sleep Apnoea – Don’t ignore the (gasping) snore

5 in 10 snoring children have sleep apnoea. If left undiagnosed, the resulting lack of quality sleep can lead to learning, behavioural, and mood difficulties. It is important to have it diagnosed and treated early. Listen to Dr Chris Seton, Pediatric and Adolescent Sleep Physician, explain Sleep Apnoea in Children. The Sleep Health Foundation is co-ordinating an awarenesss campaign for Sleep Awareness Week 4-10th of July 2016. Please help spread the word! Tweet, or Facebook share.

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  • Sleep Apnoea makes children tired due to poor sleep quality and night wakings.
    • Causes Bad Behaviour.
    • Bad moods.
    • Poor learning.
    • Toddler behaviour and moods is bad enough as it is. Treatment can make a huge difference to the child and family.
  • Two types of Sleep Apnoea.
    • Central Sleep Apnoea common in premature babies, and occurs in 1-2% of full-term babies.
      • Breathing has occasional pauses due to missing signals from the brain.
      • Disappears about 6 or 7 months of age.
      • Monitored using an alarm system to alert baby and parent to long pauses.
    • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
      • Typical adult apnoea.
      • Snoring creates a blockage of the airway.
      • Babies to Teenagers, most common in 2-5 year age group
        • 6% of 2-5 year olds snore frequently, and about half of those have sleep apnoea.
      • Obstructive sleep apnoea is a SIDs risk factor. Risk factors accumulate. You can mitigate the risk if you are aware of it.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
    • Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
      • Associated with large tonsils and adenoids, which is largely driven by genetics.
      • Family history of snoring and sleep apnoea makes sleep apnoea more likely.
      • If mum or dad has sleep apnoea, 1 in 4 of your children are likely to have sleep apnoea.
    • Agitators
      • Smoking and allergies make sleep apnoea worse, but don’t cause it.
    • Symptoms
      • Snoring children: Sleep Apnoea comes with frequent snoring except in very young babies or cases of central sleep apnoea.
      • Pauses in breathing. Snoring – silence – choking or gasping sound.
        • Observed – Sleep Apnoea is Likely.
        • Not observed – little indication. It may just not have been heard.
      • Children with Sleep Apnoea are more wakeful (some sleep through, but it is rare).
        • Frequent, or long night wakings.
    • If you suspect sleep apnoea
      • Go to a GP or Pediatrician and advocate for a referral to a sleep study.
      • Don’t delay. The longer it goes, the worse the learning issues become, and it can lead to children being incorrectly labelled as learning disordered or ADHD.
      • There are sleep clinics in all Australian capital cities, and in Woolongong, and Newcastle.
      • There is also an email facility via Sleep Shack, if you want to check if symptoms warrant a sleep study.
      • See a sleep doctor rather than ear, nose and throat surgeon, because whether surgery is recommended depends on whether it is causing sleep issues.
    • Will they grow out of it?
      • Tonsils and adenoids stop growing at about 4.
      • Sleep apnoea can improve beyond 4 years old, but often gets worse for children under 4.
      • Learning problems are reversible in toddler and preschool years, but can become permanent if sleep apnoea isn’t treated prior to school.
    • Treatments
      • Sleep study shows where the blockage is (tonsils, adenoids, or both).
      • The usual treatment is surgery to remove the blockage.
      • For mild sleep apnoea, nasal sprays or singulair can help. (Not adequate for moderate or major sleep apnoea).


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