Sunday, February 25, 2018
Health

A child's snoring can sometimes be a sign of sleep apnea

Snoring can be a normal symptom of a cold or virus in children, but when snoring persists and children have difficulty sleeping, parents should take their children to a doctor to look for signs of more serious conditions.

Snoring occurs in about 20 percent of children and is most common among children between 2 and 6, said Dr. Marcel Deray, a pediatric neurologist and director of the sleep disorders center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. About 10 percent of children who suffer from snoring have some sort of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that leads to pauses in breathing throughout the night.

"That's the peak time that kids have enlarged adenoids and tonsils, which is the main cause of snoring and sleep apnea," Deray said.

Besides loud snoring, children may seem restless in their sleep, talk in their sleep, sleep in abnormal positions or sleep walk. Children may also begin wetting the bed again after not wetting the bed for months. All of these nighttime behaviors are signs that a child may need treatment for their snoring and that it could be sleep apnea.

During the daytime, children suffering from sleep apnea may wake up tired, irritable, moody and with headaches. Teachers may notice children falling asleep in class or having difficulty paying attention.

Environmental factors and allergens may also contribute to snoring. Children who are exposed to smoking can snore more. Obesity can also make children more prone to snoring because an obese person can have difficulty breathing. Children with Down syndrome or facial abnormalities are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea because they have a greater chance of having a collapsed airway.

"Some risk factors for snoring and sleep apnea may be kids that are overweight, so kids that have a body mass index over 26. You want to be a little more proactive in screening for sleep apnea," said Dr. Leonardo Torres, a pediatric sleep specialist at UHealth-the University of Miami Health System.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

If a doctor determines that snoring may be a problem for a child, the next step is to try implementing lifestyle changes and see if the child has a cold, viral infection or allergies.

Some lifestyle changes that Dr. Nivia Vasquez, a pediatrician at Baptist Health South Florida, recommends are eating a better diet, exercising, decreasing environmental irritants and avoiding smokers.

If those changes don't improve a child's sleep or related symptoms, a doctor will then recommend a polysomnogram, which is part of an overnight sleep study. The polysomnogram measures brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, air movement and chest movements.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital recently opened a second sleep disorders center in Weston at the Dan Marino Outpatient Center. Deray helped open the original sleep disorder center at Nicklaus in 1983.

"The sleep study entails spending one night in the lab," Deray said.

After identifying that a child has sleep apnea, the next step is to identify the cause of the sleep condition. In almost all cases, sleep apnea is caused by enlarged adenoids, soft tissue behind the nasal cavities, and enlarged tonsils. To try to fix the condition, doctors will remove the adenoids and tonsils in a surgical procedure called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

"There's no side effects other than the surgery and the anesthesia. There's a very small risk of complication," Deray said.

After surgery, children will be monitored in a sleep study to ensure the cessation of snoring and sleep apnea. If children still have difficulty breathing while sleeping after surgery, they can be put on continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy, where an electronic device delivers air to the airways throughout the night to prevent the throat from collapsing.

It's important to treat sleep disorders such as sleep apnea in children because sleep deprivation and difficulty breathing over a long period of time can lead to permanent health problems. Permanent effects of ignoring sleep apnea include being behind in school, not reaching optimal growth, developing lung problems and behavioral changes.

"If sleep apnea is ignored and intervention isn't received, the child could end up having permanent adverse effects, such as health, behavioral or learning problems that could be prevented if they received the intervention," Vasquez said.

Comments
Mental illness dominating post-Parkland gun debate, but at what cost?

Mental illness dominating post-Parkland gun debate, but at what cost?

A familiar and polarizing tug of war over gun control and access to guns has re-emerged in the week since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, thrusting mental illness once again into the national conversation about mass ...
Published: 02/24/18
After Parkland, admissions to mental health treatment centers in Florida spike

After Parkland, admissions to mental health treatment centers in Florida spike

The emotional welfare of children follows predicatable patterns. In the fall, when school begins, beds at psychiatric treatment centers fill up. They empty again during summer break and the winter holidays.In recent years, doctors and psychologists h...
Published: 02/24/18
Doctors ordered a urine test after her surgery. That’ll be $17,850, the lab said

Doctors ordered a urine test after her surgery. That’ll be $17,850, the lab said

This is the debut of a monthly feature from Kaiser Health News and NPR that will dissect and explain real medical bills in order to shed light on U.S. health care prices and to help patients learn how to be more active in managing costs. Do you have ...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
Preventive treatment for peanut allergies succeeds in study

Preventive treatment for peanut allergies succeeds in study

The first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. A company said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut flour helped sensitize children to nuts in a major study. Millions of children have peanut allergies...
Published: 02/20/18
Doctors were wrong when they told her immunotherapy wouldn’t cure her cancer

Doctors were wrong when they told her immunotherapy wouldn’t cure her cancer

No one expected the four young women to live much longer. They had an extremely rare, aggressive and fatal form of ovarian cancer. There was no standard treatment.The women, strangers to one another living in different countries, asked their doctors ...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Bloodmobile for Feb. 23

Bloodmobile locationsLifeSouth Community Blood Center will have blood drives at the following off-site locations during the coming week:Feb. 23: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Walmart, 13300 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill; 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Dickey’s Barbecue P...
Published: 02/20/18
Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

70 percent of cardiac arrests outside hospitals happen at home. American Heart Association 3 a.m. Jan. 4, 2016. Lisa Peters of St. Petersburg is awakened by her husband, Rick, making strange gasping sounds. She can’t wake him. He feels cold. Only 46...
Published: 02/16/18

Step by step, ramp up your daily activity

Jae Bermanhe Washington Post There are many reasons that people avoid exercise. Time is an obvious one. Our lives are already busy — who has time to work out? Money is another common excuse. Gym memberships and equipment can get pricey.People often w...
Published: 02/16/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18