Does your child snore? What can cause snoring? Is there any cause for concern? Is there anything that can be done?
asked 10 Dec '09, 18:05
Snoring in children is relatively common. According to the article above, habitual snoring affects about 11 percent to 12 percent of all children between the ages of 1 through 9.
Snoring can be caused by nasal congestion from a cold or allergies, but also can result from anatomical issues, like a deviated septum, narrow airway due to extra tissue, obesity or enlarged tonsils, adenoids or uvula (that dangly thing at the back of your throat).
Snoring is a form of disordered breathing and should not be ignored. Snoring may be a signal that your child may be suffering from sleep disruptions, or even possibly sleep apnea (periods where breathing stops during sleep).
Children need a lot more sleep than adults do. If their sleep is frequently interrupted due to breathing problems while sleeping, it can affect their health and their behavior. We all know that an over-tired sleep-deprived child can be cranky, hyperactive, uncooperative, unfocused, moody and all-around miserable to deal with. The behavior of a chronically sleep-deprived child could even be mistaken for ADHD.
The way to test if your child's snoring may be an indication of disordered sleep is to have a sleep study done. You would normally see a pediatric Otolaryngologist (Ear Nose and Throat, i.e. ENT doctor) who might refer you to a Pulmonologist or other sleep specialist. At the sleep study, which takes place in a sleep lab or sleep clinic, your child would be hooked up to a bunch of sensors to measure breathing, heart rate, snoring, brain waves, etc. and would sleep overnight while being monitored.
If the sleep study shows that your child has disrupted sleep, your doctor would discuss with you the various treatment options available. In the case of my children, their sleep apnea was caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, one of the most common causes. The recommended treatment was therefore surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids.
While we are on the topic, any of you moms and dads out there who snore, you should get a sleep study done too. Sleep apnea in adults is a serious condition. Adults with sleep apnea often find that they still feel tired even after a full night's sleep and might awake with a sore throat or headache. Aside from leading to daytime drowsiness and bad moods, there are negative long term effects on the heart from what is essentially repeated bouts of oxygen deprivation.
It should be emphasized that it is possible for a child or adult with sleep apnea to wake up dozens of times a night, snore like a buzz saw, gasp, cough and choke, and be completely unaware in the morning that it is happening. I personally have snored, been woken up, engaged in a few sentences of conversation, gone back to sleep, and in the morning been entirely unaware that it ever happened. This is not unusual, it's actually typical.
In adults, the treatment for sleep apnea is usually not surgery but rather Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) therapy. This involves wearing a mask attached to a machine that keeps your airway open when you inhale by, basically, blowing air up your nose (there must be a more clinical term than that).
answered 10 Dec '09, 19:04
Childhood snoring is not uncommon - 7% will snore nightly, and up to 20% will snore occasionally.
You need to find out if it's serious by determining if the snoring is leading to breathing or sleeping problems. If they pause breathing, or are excessively restless at night, it may be time to talk to a specialist and find out whether they need medical care for sleep issues.
This article on childhood snoring has more detail and the particular signs to watch out for to determine if it's serious or normal. If serious, make an appointment now to have a doctor review it.
If it doesn't appear serious, you should still bring it up with your doctor at your child's next checkup. Snoring is still disruptive, even when it's not dangerous, and your doctor will have methods that may reduce or eliminate snoring.
answered 10 Dec '09, 18:22