Children and Sleep Apnea

By: Christina Butler
By: Christina Butler

May 21, 2007

You sometimes hear about sleep apnea as a disorder adults have.
They can't get a restful night of sleep because their breathing is disrupted throughout the night.

But it can also occur in children, and the side effects are just as damaging, if not worse.

Difficulty breathing, sleep deprivation, slowed growth and even attention deficit disorder are all dangers and risks if sleep apnea is not discovered and treated.

But as one local family found out, it's as easy to treat and recover from as the common cold.

Back in November of 2005, Jonathan Buetow's parents began to notice their son might have signs of sleep apnea. They were on vacation, and Jonathan was sleeping in their hotel room. His parents say he would stop breathing in his sleep, sometimes gasping for air.

After returning from that trip, they made a visit with Dr. Paige Powers at Piedmont Otalarngology. She's an ear, nose and throat specialist who recognized the symptoms immediately. She recommended Jonathan undergo a simple procedure to remove his tonsils and adenoids.

Jonathan's parents agreed. Just as quickly as Dr. Powers diagnosed him, little Jonathan had recovered .

If your child has these symptoms, you may want to see a doctor.

-Loud snoring that occurs regularly.
-Behavioral changes.
-Difficulty concentrating in school.
-Due to a lack of sleep, they may be cranky or have more or less energy.

The Beutow's say it's one of the most important decisions they've made, for one of the most important people they know.

Dr. Powers says about 1-3% of children are known to suffer from sleep apnea, but because parents might not always recognize the symptoms that percentage could be much higher.

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