Infant sleep apnea is a condition where breathing becomes difficult for an infant while they are asleep. While it is rare in full-term infants, sleep apnea can occur more prominently in babies that are pre-term.
Read on to find out the causes, symptoms, and recovery for sleep apnea in children.
There are three main types of sleep apnea that affect infants. The first is called obstructive sleep apnea of which children are affected by the most. This is where the upper airway is congested, hindering the airflow process.
The second is called central sleep apnea. Though not as common, it is more serious and is caused by the failure of the central nervous system. Because of this, the brain doesn't send or receive the signals required to regulate effective breathing.
Mixed sleep apnea is the third type of sleep apnea that presents the effects of both obstructive and central types of apnea at once. This is extremely rare.
During sleep, tissues fold together due to the reduction in muscle tone. This can cause obstruction and make breathing through the nose difficult or nearly impossible.
Some general causes of sleep apnea in infants are:
Some less common causes of infant sleep apnea include:
If you are worried that your child may be suffering from sleep apnea, then you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms while your baby is sleeping:
Other than these, two related symptoms you may observe when your child is awake are excessive daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration.
A paediatrician will be able to diagnose infant sleep apnea by conducting a physical examination. In some cases, the doctor may even suggest following a sleep study where the child will be under the observation of a sleep specialist. This specialist will check for vitals such as heart and breathing rates when the baby is asleep.
There are multiple methods of treating sleep apnea in infants and these vary depending on the age of the child as well as the stage and cause of sleep apnea.
If you suspect that your child may have sleep apnea, it is vital that you consult a paediatrician immediately. Sleep apnea, if not diagnosed, can lead to adverse long-term effects such as lung damage.
On a parting note, if you know someone who may be suffering from this ailment, you can share this article and help them out.