THIS IS THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF SLEEP DISORDER IN CHILDREN, AFFECTING ABOUT 5% OF THEM. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WHAT DOES A PARENT NEED TO KNOW?
SDB includes two conditions, namely, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and snoring.
OSA is a condition that occurs when the upper airway is too narrow or is otherwise obstructed, leading to excess effort in breathing, snoring, lapses in breathing, and an inability to maintain adequate oxygen saturation during sleep.
The most common causes of upper airway narrowing or obstruction are large adenoids and tonsils, blocked nose from an allergy or infection, a deviated nasal septum, and large nasal turbinates. Another possible cause is a congenital abnormality of the facial or jaw bones.
PARENTS’ ALERT: SDB SIGNS
Noisy, irregular or laboured breathing, sometimes with pauses
Mouth-breathing. Children are obligate nose breathers, and mouth-breathing increases air resistance
Restless sleep. Tossing and turning, sitting up and perspiring during sleep
Bruxism (habitual teeth-grinding)
Difficulty in waking up
Irritability, moodiness and inattention, with poor school performance
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
Failure to thrive. Healthy growth is dependent on a growth hormone produced in the child’s brain during good sleep. Excessive expense of energy in respiratory and cardiovascular efforts in SDB affects a child’s growth
‘Adenoid facies’ or ‘long face’ syndrome. The way that a child holds his mouth in his first five years will contribute significantly to shaping the musculoskeletal developmentof the face, jaw and teeth. A mouth-breather and snorer will develop ‘long face’ syndrome, which will remain into adult life. These features may lead toOSA in adulthood