teenage snoring is more than an embarrassing problemTeen snoring should be evaluated

It is rare that when we think of snoring we think of children, rather we picture in our heads or in our beds some big overweight guy sawing loud logs. Consider this then, up to 13% of all children between the ages of 1 and 10 will snore. Some of the time when children snore it will be considered “normal” for them, this may be because they have a cold, allergies or are overweight. However consistent snoring can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Their tonsils and adenoids may be obstructing the airway or they could have something called sleep apnea. This is when a person quits breathing up to 300 times a night and when the breathing restarts they gasp and the floppy parts of their throats vibrate causing the snoring sound.

Sleep apnea in children is not something that you should mess around with. It does not allow the child to get the sound sleep he or she needs to grow and breath healthily. Sleep apnea has periods of loud sharp snoring with periods of no breathing at all. The no breathing times can last up 30 seconds. During this time the child will be restless and will reposition himself and go into a deep sleep once more only to begin snoring again. It happens off an on all night long. It is true that this condition is rare in children but every parent should at least know of it and watch for any symptoms, especially if the child is a snorer.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children

  • Hyperactive- Because they are losing sleep at night, they are tired and so to stay alert they act frantically
  • Slow growth patterns- It has always been known that we grow and heal while sleeping. Children with sleep apnea and broken sleep patterns use more energy in the night to breath and so it affects their body’s ability to rejuvenate and grow. They tend to eat slower at meals taking in fewer nutrients and thus they don’t get enough to support their growth.
  • Speech Problems-Children will talk as if they have something hot in their mouth.
  • School performance suffers-If you are not getting enough sleep then it is harder to focus and learn. Your behavior may be affected in that you get into trouble more and can not sit still.

If your child is snoring and has any of the above problems then you should do a couple of things. First keep a diary of what is going on for about a week then go see the pediatrician. This diary will help the doctor diagnose the problem as it is most likely that you child will appear quite normal and happy, so the diary helps the doctor see into the nightlife of the child without being there.

Sleep apnea is only one reason that children snore, there are other reasons:

Asthma-A child with active asthma will have tissue swelling in the throat and constriction of the airway and up to 40% of children with asthma will snore

Allergies- In response to pollen, animal air or other such things you child is allergic to, his mucous membranes in his nose swell, his adenoids will enlarge and he will snore. When the allergy goes away then the snoring will stop.

Obesity-Up to 50% of all obese children snore, this is because their necks are fatty and the airway narrower. There are fatty deposits around the throat and constricts the airway further. It is also believed that the diaphragm will not function properly with too much fat in the stomach.

Colds-Stuffy noses with swollen nasal membranes make it hard to breath and the pressure to do so vibrates over the muscles and tissues in our throat as we sleep

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids-Big swollen tissues in the way of normal breathing

Tumors, Cancer and Cysts-When the growth enlarges it can block the airway channel and cause snoring

Jaw problems- Your child might have had a jaw injury that repositioned it or he might have been born with an underdeveloped jaw, for whatever reason his jaw is not in the right place and the child will snore. Underdevelopment of the jaw inside the womb can cause snoring as well.

Most parents are aware of every nuance of their child’s behavior and patterns. It is important to seek medical advice if you have any concerns. Breathing problems in children can be fixed and it can effect their whole live as it usually does not stay a snoring problem only.

Filed under: Teen Issues

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