Snoring and Children

Problems of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea occur in children as well as adults. More severe problems in childhood may not only lead to daytime fatigue and drowsiness, but also, low body weight, difficulty swallowing and more serious problems including heart failure.

The most common cause for snoring and apnoea in childhood is enlargement of the tonsils and the adenoid tissue. Removal of the tonsils and adenoids will often cure this problem. Other causes can include a small jaw, Down's syndrome and other abnormalities of the facial development. Rarely nasal cysts or tumors may cause problems. Deviation of the nasal cartilege and blockage of the nose may also contribute to a problem.

Signs of your child having a problem include snoring during sleep and in particular a pause in the snoring of up to ten seconds before breathing is resumed. These are the apnoeic or 'breath-holding' episodes. Your child may be a restless sleeper, moving around the bed through the night and often waking. Bedwetting may be a problem and irritability on waking or daytime drowsiness may be noted. Other findings may include difficulties with swallowing food and slow eating, a lack of ability to smell and a tendency to 'mouth breathe'. It is possible that the sleep impairment in these cases can lead to a growth hormone deficiency and small build.


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