When does snoring become a problem? Snoring could be dangerous to a child as it could be symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). It is when the airway collapses and the child finds it hard to take air in. As a result, oxygen levels go down and carbon dioxide levels shoot up, which would cause a child to wake up to catch his breath. Frequent waking and poor quality of sleep may lead to emotional problems, headaches and even learning disabilities. Severe, untreated OSAS may lead to growth failure, heart problems and hypertension.
What other signs indicate OSAS? In children, the most common physical manifestation associated with sleep apnea is a large tonsil and adenoids which can block the airway, making it difficult to breathe. Obesity, allergies, asthma, and gastoesophageal reflux are other factors that can contribute to sleep apnea.
Is there a treatment for OSAS? If you suspect that your child may have symptoms of sleep apnea, consult with your pediatrician who may refer you to a sleep specialist or an overnight sleep study called polysomnography. If OSAS is diagnosed, your child will be referred to a pediatric ENT surgeon for an adenotonsillectomy. Most children will have sleep apnea resolution after the procedure.
Dr. Sally Victoria King holds clinics at the Medical City (Tel. 634-8369) and the Makati Medical Center (817-7366).