Frequent snoring or breathing problems during sleep may lead to an increase in lowered concentration levels and learning disabilities in children.
A study published in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, and conducted by Gunnhildur Gudnadottir, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, reported that kids with ongoing snoring experience a reduction in their quality of life. This especially applies to young people with sleep apnea, reports the Indo-Asian News Service.
Additional consequences of persistent snoring can be decreased quality of sleep, tiredness during the day, concentration problems, bedwetting, and growth issues. Snoring is most commonly caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a problem which can be corrected by surgery.
The scientists studied 1,300 Swedish children aged 0- to 11-years-old and discovered that roughly 5% of those who were examined snored intermittently during the week. Only approximately one-third of the youngsters who snored had been taken to a physician because of the problem.
The researchers felt this apparently made the level of awareness in parents insufficient when it came to the troubling effects of breathing problems on children's health.
"The study shows that awareness is low regarding the negative effects of breathing disturbances during sleep on children's health and that most parents are not aware that this is something that should be investigated. An obvious result of the study is that we must consider how parents are given information about the condition and where they can seek help," researchers wrote.
It is much more likely for adults to be diagnosed with sleep apnea, and it is usually linked to obesity in both children and adults, reports HealthNewsLine.
The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) writes that long pauses in the breathing pattern, tossing and turning in bed, constant mouth breathing while sleeping, and night sweating can all be signs that a child is suffering from sleep apnea.
Although not common in kids, it is estimated that 1% to 4% of children struggle with the condition, and many are between the ages of 2- and 8-years-old.
There is a possibility that children will "grow out" of the sleep disorder, but evidence continues to mount that shows if pediatric sleep disorders go untreated, they can take a toll on young ones' overall health if they persist unchecked.
The ASAA explains that symptoms can include sleep-walking, hormonal and metabolic problems. And even failure to thrive can result from continual fragmented sleep.
Some of the causes of sleep apnea are a family history of the condition, being overweight, defects in the mouth, throat, or jaw, or a large neck or tongue, according to KidsHealth.org.
Because the disorder keeps a child from getting a good night's sleep, teachers can sometimes mistakenly think a student with sleep apnea has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities.
To treat the condition, a sleep study is a frequently-recommended first step. A polysomnogram allows doctors to record bodily functions while a young person is sleeping. The studies are painless and risk-free, but commonly require the patient to spend the night in a sleep center or hospital.