Sleep Breathing Machine in Kids With Sleep Apnea

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According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “Sleep apnea is a sleep related breathing disorder. The word apnea means ‘no breathing’, and sleep apnea refers to pauses in breathing that occur during sleep. On average, these pauses last for 10 to 30 seconds, until the brain reacts to overcome the problem. With each episode of apnea, blood oxygen levels are reduced (hypoxia), and sleep is disturbed as the sleeper must wake briefly to resume breathing.”

Adolescents and children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea had significant improvements in anxiety, attention and quality of life. This improvement was due to the treatment which they had opted with positive airway pressure. This PAP is a nighttime therapy wherein a machine delivers a stream of air all the way through a mask into the nose. The improvements happened even when the children did not completely adhere to the treatment. The study is available at an online journal. Sleep apnea is a situation of interrupted breathing which is caused by narrowing the upper airway or throat, concerning with adenoids and tonsils, many medical problems including obesity.

By making persistent application of PAP, one can seek relief from sleep apnea, especially in individuals in whom it has been found extensively. But there have been few experiments of PAP in children also. Most of the children undergo a surgery on their adenoids and tonsils rather than opting for PAP therapy. It is very complicated to get the children wear mask which is used in the PAP treatment. But surgery has not proved to be effective, especially in obese children. It was noticed that the mounting incidence of obesity among adolescents and children mounts the rate of sleep apnea in young individuals.

The team then evaluated behavioral problems, sleepiness, quality of life and attention at baseline and after a period of 3 months of the PAP treatment. They discovered improvements took place even when the children took the PAP treatment for just 3 hours at night. There was improvement in daytime sleepiness, their behavior and quality of life. But it was important for the parents of these children to commit to the treatment and the behavior plan which supports the PAP therapy. This study was initial all-inclusive study of PAP use in children, so additional research should be encouraged. But somehow the findings have motivating implications for using the PAP treatment in children with sleep apnea.



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