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Sleep Disordered Breathing (SBD) in Children – Las Vegas, NV

Recognizing and Addressing Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children

boy hugging mother

Sleep-disordered breathing, SDB, is a general term used to describe conditions that affect the free flow of air when a person is asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, OSA, is the most common form of SDB in children. Left untreated, it can interfere with a child’s development, cause them to perform poorly at school, contribute to behavioral problems, and more. On this page, we will discuss how you can recognize and address SDB in your young one.

What Causes SDB in Children?

girl sleeping on counter

SDB and OSA in children can have numerous causes. With OSA in particular, SDB is the result of tissues in the throat that block the free flow of air during sleep. It even causes periodic pauses in breathing that disrupt the sleep cycle and reduce the amount of oxygen in the child’s blood.

There are quite a few factors that can lead to OSA in children, including:

  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Improper development of the jaw and/or teeth
  • Certain health conditions, such as Down syndrome and Pierre-Robin syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of SDB

boy sleeping hugging bear

If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms in your child, they may be suffering from sleep-disordered breathing:

  • Frequent snoring
  • Mouth breathing
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping or snorting during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or irritability
  • Behavioral problems
  • Bedwetting
  • Sleepwalking or night terrors
  • Learning problems
  • Morning headaches

Diagnosing SDB in Children

heartbeat chart

If you suspect that your child is suffering from sleep-disordered breathing, schedule a consultation with their physician or a dedicated sleep expert. After they learn about your child’s symptoms, they may refer them to a sleep clinic so they can undergo a sleep study, also called a sleep test. During the test, your child will be hooked up to a number of sensors while they sleep. The sensors will monitor your child’s breathing, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and other vital statistics.

After the test results are analyzed, you will know whether your child has obstructive sleep apnea or another form of sleep-disordered breathing.

Treating SDB in Children

young girl putting in sleep appliance

The best treatment for SDB in children will depend on what is causing the problem. For example, if your child is overweight, you may need to work with their doctor to formulate a healthy weight loss plan for them. If they suffer from allergies that cause congestion in the upper airway, you may need to explore medication options.

On the other hand, if your child’s sleep apnea is due to anatomical abnormalities in the jaw and teeth, the Healthy Start Program offered at our sleep center may be the ideal solution. This innovative treatment uses special appliances to correct problems in the upper and lower jaw, thus facilitating the free flow of air during sleep.

Would you like to learn more about SDB in children and how Dr. West and our team may be able to help your little one breathe easier at night? Contact us today.