| | Sleep Disorders in Children - Some Facts and My Family's Story
I am writing from personal experience and because sleep disorders are so overlooked in not only adults, but children as well. ADD, ADHD, and hyperactivity is a common misdiagnoses for one of the prevalent symptoms in children under the age of 8 suffering from sleep apnea and extreme sleep deprivation. Sloth like behavior, laziness, depression, and anxiety are the prevalent syptoms in sleep disorder sufferers above the age of 8.
My son is four years old and has severe sleep apnea and hypopnea. I was told by four different pediatricians that sleep disorders do not effect children. They were WRONG!!! Most non-specialized physicians have only had a fifteen minute seminar on sleep disorders and as a result DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR! They just treat the symptoms drawn to their attention. Sleep disorders can be diagnosed as early as six months.
Sleep apnea is important to diagnose and treat in children, especially. It was after being diagnosed for sleep apnea myself and treating every possible physical cause in my son first.. adnoidectomy and ear tubes to treat fluid retained hearing loss and chronic ear infections as well as a tonsillectomy to regulate snoring and chronic sinus issues that our family ENT finally suggested that I should look into a sleep study for him, because snoring persisted.
So here it goes:
IF your child has any of these symptoms or all consult a sleep specialist.
1) If your child is younger than 8 and snores, the child most likely has obstructive sleep apnea(OSA). Children under the age of 8 should not snore.
2) Gasps for breath or appears to hold their breath in their sleep. (OSA again)
3) Grinds there teeth, sleep walks or talks, wakes more than once a night after the age of two.. OSA once again.
4) Has had a depression of their growth rate dropped in growth percentiles, etc.
5) Chronic ear and respiratory infections.
6) Poor behavior and attention span.. hyper activity.. insomnia.. these are signs of extreme sleep deprivation and OSA once again.
I am not saying ADD, ADHD, and other disorders are not valid diagnoses; but, if even one child has sleep apnea and was over looked due to ignorance, I hope this post might catch them.
My son's poor behavior change over night. His lack of growth has stopped and in his month and a half on his CPAP: he has grown 1.5 inches, sleeps through the night, and can control his mood swings and temper. My sleep MD thinks that my son has had sleep apnea all his life and luckily, it has been caught early enough any lost growth and development can be recovered.
Sleep apnea is also genetically linked.. so if your child does have it... it came from someone directly in line with them. My husband and I both have sleep apnea and didn't know it until a little over a year ago. My husband has been battling depression, anxiety, the inability to stay awake and wake up for years and years. With his CPAP all those symptoms are gone. I have sleep apnea, but it manifested in chronic fatigue and insomnia.. with my CPAP I can sleep and lose weight once more. It is estimated that 2 out of 100 children have sleep apnea and less than 1 out of 5000 have been caught and treated appropriately.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
Last edited by mkgbrook; 07-12-2007 at 07:42 AM.