When we picture someone who suffers from sleep apnea, we often think of an overweight middle-aged man. While many people who suffer from sleep apnea fit this description, the disorder can technically affect anyone, even children.
As you might imagine, there are noticeable differences in how sleep apnea affects young people. For example, while adults often experience daytime drowsiness, children will experience behavioral problems.
The most common cause of childhood sleep apnea comes from an enlargement of the tonsils. This differs greatly from adults, who are often affected due to weight gain.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition for everyone, but it’s especially serious for kids who are still developing mentally and physically. If left untreated, childhood sleep apnea can hinder their growth, affect cognitive development, and cause frequent illness.
Many studies from around the world have found that sleep is especially important to development for young people. If a child isn’t getting enough sleep, they might notice weight gain, difficulty focusing, problems in school, or even diabetes.
Growth hormones are primarily secreted during deep sleep, but if a child is suffering from sleep apnea, this deep sleep may not typically be achieved. One possible long term consequence can be stunted growth. Sleep also protects kids from obesity while building up a stronger immune system and attention span; without adequate rest, both will suffer.
Sleep quality affects many essential developmental functions in children. A careful sleep apnea evaluation by a specialist will offer insight and provide early intervention. Contact Chesapeake Sleep Center today!
Chesapeake Sleep Center
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061