Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Legalization of marijuana for adults poses problems for people dealing with teens

Legalization of marijuana for adults poses problems for people dealing with teens

WESTMINSTER, Calif. — After Yarly Raygoza attended the drug prevention program at the Boys & Girls Club here last year, she used what she learned to talk a few friends out of using marijuana.The 14-year-old took the class again this year but worries ...
Published: 12/10/17
Millions gained coverage since Obamacare, but many are worse off as premiums soar

Millions gained coverage since Obamacare, but many are worse off as premiums soar

As open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage nears the deadline of Dec. 15, and Florida once again leads all states using the federal exchange at healthcare.gov, Heidi and Richard Reiter sit at the kitchen table at their Davie home and struggl...
Published: 12/10/17
A gift of hands: After loss, a man finds hope from healing ones (w/video)

A gift of hands: After loss, a man finds hope from healing ones (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — Francisco Piedra fixed his eyes on the man sitting beside him. His name was Richard Brown, and in his hands he held Piedra’s new ones.The prosthetics were black and plastic. Each one took about 20 hours to build from a 3D printer. Pi...
Published: 12/08/17
The solar eclipse burned a crescent wound on a woman’s retina. She wasn’t wearing proper glasses.

The solar eclipse burned a crescent wound on a woman’s retina. She wasn’t wearing proper glasses.

Like so many others, 26-year-old Nia Payne wanted to view of August’s historic solar eclipse but didn’t have a pair of protective glasses. She walked outside on Staten Island and glanced at the sun - 70 percent was covered - for about six seconds bef...
Published: 12/08/17
At St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, death of a colleague inspires ‘hats with heart’

At St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, death of a colleague inspires ‘hats with heart’

TAMPA — Brittany Weatherby didn’t know how to crochet when she started her job as a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, and she never dreamed of learning how.Maybe her grandma used to, she tried to remember, but Weatherby never really ...
Published: 12/08/17
How kids’ books can introduce a lifetime of fitness

How kids’ books can introduce a lifetime of fitness

When I became a parent last year, it seemed likely my marathon running days were behind me.Running had made me a grittier person. It had given me the very specific self-assurance that comes from calmly enduring 26 miles on foot, a quality that would ...
Published: 12/08/17