INFORMATION FOR DOCTORS AND OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Call: (204) 927-8650
245-3025 Portage Ave Winnipeg, MB, R3K 2E2

The Airway

Does your child snore? Does your child show other signs of disturbed sleep: chronic mouth breathing, clenching and grinding teeth, long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning in bed, bed wetting and night sweats (because of an increased effort to breathe)? All these and especially the snoring are possible signs of sleep apnea which is more common among children than is generally recognized. It is estimated that 10% of children snore regularly and up to 4% of children suffer from sleep apnea, many of them being between 2 and 8 years old.

Furthermore, while there is a possibility that affected children will “grow out of“ their sleep disorders, the evidence is steadily growing that untreated pediatric sleep disorders including sleep apnea can wreak a heavy toll while they persist. Studies have suggested that as many as 25% of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may actually have symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and that much of their learning difficulty and behavior problems can be the consequence of chronic fragmented sleep. Bed-wetting, sleep walking, retarded growth, other hormonal and metabolic problems, even failure to thrive can be related to sleep apnea. Some researchers have charted a specific impact of sleep disordered breathing on “executive functions” of the brain: cognitive flexibility, self-monitoring, planning, organization and self-regulation of affect an arousal. In addition, several studies show a strong association between pediatric sleep disorders and childhood obesity.

Potential Consequences of Untreated Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB)

  • Social: Loud snoring can become a significant social problem if a child shares a room with siblings or at sleepovers and at summer camp
  • Behavior and learning: Children with SDB may become moody, inattentive and disruptive both at home and at school. SDB can also be a contributing factor to ADHD in some children
  • Enuresis: SDB can cause increased nighttime urine production which may lead to bed=wetting
  • Growth: Children with SDB may not produce enough growth hormones resulting in abnormally slow growth and development
  • Obesity: SDB may cause the body to have increased resistance to insulin or daytime fatigue with decreases in physical activity. These factors can contribute to obesity
  • Cardiovascular: OSA can be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure or other heart and lung problems