Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in kids

Have you noticed your kids waking up frequently during the night? Are they constantly tired? Do you hear them snoring or grinding their teeth at night? They may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

This is a condition in which airways become obstructed during sleep, causing a lack of oxygen, subsequently leading to waking up from sleep to resume normal breathing.

OSA occurs more often in preschool kids and may lead to delayed development, difficulty in concentration/studying and heart issues to name a few.

Signs and symptoms of OSA are:

  • Snoring
  • Sleeping in unusual positions
  • Restless sleeping
  • Bedwetting
  • Poor weight gain
  • Night terrors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor weight gain

What contributes to OSA?

  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Obesity
  • Allergic rhinitis, deformation in nasal septum and other nasal obstructions
  • Small lower jaw with pushed-back/underdeveloped chin
  • Conditions such as Pierre Robin and Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy and epilepsy

How to treat OSA?

  • After careful assessment by a GP/dentist/EarNoseThroat (ENT) specialist, the child will be referred for a sleep study to a hospital or a sleep centre.
  • Sleep study records brain activity, oxygen in the blood, heart rate and breathing, eye and leg movement during sleep
  • Weight loss for obese/overweight kids
  • Nasal corticosteroids for mild OSA to shrink adenoids and improve nose breathing
  • Removal of adenoids and tonsils to open up the airways
  • CPAP machines to sleep with, which pump oxygen into the lungs
  • Rapid Maxillary Expansion – a device attached to the top jaw which helps it grow, thus expanding the jaw and the airways

If you think your child may have OSA please consult with your dentist, GP, orthodontist or ENT specialist for further investigation and details.