Children’s sleep apnea can affect their health

It is estimated that 1-5% of Icelandic children suffer from sleep apnea and even more from severe snoring that needs to be examined with regard to the effects on the child’s health.

“We have worked on methods to better define when sleep apnea and snoring are a disease condition and when no treatment is needed,” said Dr. Erna Sif Arnardóttir

Erna said that children who have sleep apnea or snore may show symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. They even received a diagnosis. Those who were worst off did not even follow a normal growth curve and were small and thin according to age. If they were given the right treatment for sleep apnea, they would often experience a growth spurt.

Sleep apnea can have more consequences. Some children breathe mostly with their mouths and develop a long and narrow facial structure. The jaw muscles become weak and the oral cavity narrower than it should be. The teeth do not fit in the palate and these children often need a lot of orthodontics, according to a report on children’s sleep apnea in Morgunblaðið today.