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Sleep disorders in children: here’s how to recognize them

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Sleep disorders in children: here’s how to recognize them

Sleep-disordered breathing can have serious effects on children, impacting their health, school performance, and behavior. However, parents often overlook the signs and symptoms, while pediatricians struggle to recognize them. According to Luana Nosetti, a professor of Pediatrics, some common signs to watch out for include inattentiveness, restless behavior, mouth breathing, noisy breathing, and difficulty waking up with headaches in the morning.

One common issue is habitual snoring, which affects around 10% of children and is often underestimated, especially if a parent snores. Another disorder, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, can lead to interruptions in breathing and a reduction in oxygen levels, causing complications such as hypertension and heart failure.

Diagnosing these disorders can be challenging, but parents can look for signs like saliva discharge, wet pillows, or strange sleeping positions. If there is suspicion, the child may need to undergo a sleep polygraph exam at a pediatric sleep medicine center. Treatment options vary depending on the cause, ranging from nasal washes and cortisone for adenoids and tonsils issues to orthodontic interventions for dental malocclusion.

Other potential causes include excess weight, palatal conformation, mouth breathing habits, and genetic conditions like Down syndrome. It is crucial for parents to be aware of these issues and seek appropriate medical attention to ensure the well-being of their children.

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