Can sleep apnea cause death? It might be frightening for the millions of people around the globe who live with chronic sleep apnea. Hold your breath; you will need it for a shocking report. According to a recent research, “The risks of severe apnea in babies include death and lasting heart or brain damage”. Sad but true! As per Infant & Children Apnea Awareness Foundation,
- Nearly 2 million children have some type of sleep disorders
- 30-40% of children do not get enough and healthy sleep
- Moreover, 10 million are still undiagnosed today
And the saddest fact is that, nearly half of the parents don’t realize that their child has a sleep disorder. We often come across parents who say, “It’s so funny when my child snores.” Well, when a child snores, something is seriously wrong.
Children with sleep disorders can go to bed at a reasonable hour, yet still not be refreshed because their sleep is of poor quality or they wake frequently. Occasional nighttime waking is normal, but excessive waking is not. Nightmares are the most common sleep disturbances in preschoolers, whereas 22 – 60% children sense sleep talking and 15 – 75% with sleep walking. A delayed sleep wake cycle, also known as the night owl is the most common disorder in adolescence. Overall, studies have found that about 20 to 40% of children have some sleep problems and sleep apnea is one that is leading the race.
Apnea is characterized by snoring, restlessness or gasping for breath sleep, sleeping with the mouth open, morning headaches, crankiness and daytime sleepiness. In children, it is typically caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or obesity. It may also link to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death. SIDS is not something that can be detected and prevented ahead of time. It can strike any infant, anywhere, without warning. However, the cause of SIDS is still unknown.
How to Know That Your Child Has Sleep Apnea?
To know whether your child is suffering from sleep apnea or not, you must jot down the following things:
- Snoring that may or may not loud and can go through the night every day
- Noisy breathing that may be worse while your child is on his/her back
- Breathing pauses
- Unusual sleep position
- Frequent awakening
- Personality changes such as being moody or irritable
- Headaches especially in morning
- Having problems in school
- Experiencing sleep walking and bed wetting
Who are the Victims of SIDS?
SIDS is most common in boys, Latino infants and infants with young mothers who smoke. Also, the below list will show the groups of children who are at increased risk for SIDS:
- Low birth weight
- Low Apgar scores
- Recent viral illness
- Siblings of two or more SIDS victims
- Infants of native American or African-American ethnicity
- Immunization up to date
To your surprises, a variety of medical conditions can also cause infant sleep apnea or make the existing one worse. The conditions include acid reflux, anemia, anesthesia, drugs, infection, lung disease, metabolic disease, neurological problems, seizures and small upper airway.
How It Can Be Prevented Or Treated?
Well, in most cases, it is caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, the simple treatment is to remove them. But the bad news is, 30% children who underwent tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy still have sleep apnea and require further treatment. If tonsillectomy doesn’t work for your child, you can try Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea. Here’s an explanation of CPAP by American Thoracic Society, “The CPAP device is a compressor that pushes air into a mask that is worn snugly over the nose during sleep. The pressure pushes the air through the nose and throat to prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep. The goal is that your child will have little or no snoring when wearing CPAP. A similar type of device is called biPAP (short for bilevel positive airway pressure support). This type of device varies the pressure with high pressure when breathing in and a lower pressure when breathing out. The amount of pressure that is given can be tested during a sleep study to see that it controls your child’s apnea”.
After a brief alteration period of 1-2 weeks, most children are comfortable sleeping with CPAP. In fact, many noticed the difference in how much better they feel after just a few nights of treatment! The symptoms of bad sleep and feeling tired can be reversed very rapidly. CPAP can be a successful if the child is able to understand how the mask and equipment work and when parents are cooperative.
If you still think this article is FAKE and sleep apnea is just a normal one and no need of any treatment, then you must read the stories of below mentioned famous personalities who died from sleep apnea.
- Harris Glenn Milstead (Known as Divine), was an American actor, singer and drag queen.
- John Candy, was a Canadian actor and comedian, mainly in American films such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) and Uncle Buck (1989).
- William Howard Taft was an American jurist and statesman who served as the 27th President of the United States and as the 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and much more.
You can also read the stories of normal individuals who died from sleep apnea. Have a look;
Now tell us, what’s your opinion on sleep apnea? If you are concerned about your child, visit you nearby health practitioners today and get immediate treatment.
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