We all want to do best by our children, so when they have a medical problem, most parents do their very best to correct it. With an estimated one in 10 American children suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA (and an additional 3 to 12 percent who snore), correcting this issue is often of paramount concern. However, it can often be hard to differentiate between regular old snoring and a more serious problem like sleep apnea or the more severe OSA. But a new study in the medical journal CHEST has highlighted the importance of treating juvenile sleep apnea – especially obstructive sleep apnea.
The study, which followed 619 participants ages 6 to 13, observed the duration over which the children exhibited signs of OSA, from mild OSA to severe. What they found was quite startling. While some children eventually outgrow their OSA as they age, many of the children in the study did not outgrow the condition and carried it with them into adulthood.
After 10 years, measurements were taken again, and of the 619 children in the study, a full 22 percent still had some form of OSA, with 57 percent of those cases considered severe.
So, what does all this mean? It means if you have a child who has sleep apnea – especially moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea - correcting this problem is of the utmost importance. Why? Because severe obstructive sleep apnea has recently been found to contribute to a long list of dangerous medical issues, everything from high blood pressure to depression to even stroke. And that’s just what we know about.
Taking steps to correct severe to moderate OSA today can help your child live a long and healthy life. One of the key indicators of severe OSA is obesity. If your child falls into the obese or overweight category, speak to a doctor about getting that child onto a healthy diet and helping him or her lose that weight. In the meantime consider working with your sleep specialist and Dr. Mingus to create a custom sleep orthotic to help prop open the airway while your child sleeps, so that the problems associated with OSA and other forms of sleep apnea do not pose a risk to your child.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mingus, please contact the office at 541-382-6565.