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sleep apnea - infants
#1
[parts of this thread were copied from our old forum]
Jul 1 2005
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shurrwood wrote:
HELP, NEED ANSWERS.


Is it possible for a 5 week old infant to have sleep apnea. My grand-daughter was admitted to the hospital the other day. We were told possilbe phnomia, and testing for sleep apnea. Ever since she came home, I have noticed that when she falls into a deep sleep her breathing changes to almost not breathing, then she will gasp for air, this then interrupts her sleeping. She will stay awake for quite awhile after the episode. IS THIS POSSIBLE?

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BettyBradley wrote:
It looks like infants can indeed have sleep apnea. here's an article:

Sleep Apnea and Children: A Scary Disorder

Many people think of sleep apnea as a disease of adulthood, and especially of adults over fifty years of age. It's also thought to be more prevalent in men. But, the truth is, anyone can get sleep apnea, from premature infants to senior citizens.

PREEMIES
In the premature infant, central apnea is the most common. This is the apnea caused when messages from the brain never reach the nerves and muscles that control breathing. The respiratory center in a premature infant's brain is not yet mature. It's common for them to have brief episodes of apnea while sleeping.

If the problem is deemed to be serious, medication or a ventilator may be ordered. As the baby gets older, the brain matures and he/she begins to breathe normally. Usually the problem ends when the infant reaches the actual due date for birth.

INFANT APNEA
Infant sleep apnea applies to infants over 37 weeks of age. This can be a frightening experience for parents. Their baby stops breathing while asleep, becomes very pale or even bluish in color, and the muscles are limp. These episodes of sleep apnea in an infant are often mistaken for SIDS, and there may be a connection, although this has not been proven as yet.

The major difference is that a child with sleep apnea can usually be revived. In fact, the baby may suffer several episodes of apnea before he outgrows the syndrome. In the case of SIDS, there is little or no hope of saving the infant.

IS APNEA INHERITED?
It is not uncommon to find sleep apnea in the family history of infants with either sleep apnea or SIDS. Other disorders that may also appear in the family history are asthma, bronchitis and allergies that attack the respiratory system.

APNEA IN CHILDREN
Apnea is also found in children. The most common age for this is from two to six years, but it does continue through or strike children right into adolescence and even into the older teen years. It's characterized by the usual symptoms - loud snoring, cessation of breathing during sleep, restless sleep - but may also cause, because of sleep deprivation, poor performance in school, both in academics and other activities, such as sports.

Again, there seems to be a link to a family history of the syndrome. This may be from inherited physical characteristics. Apnea is most common in adults who are obese or have a very large, bulky neck. If the child inherits these characteristics, of course there is a possibility of getting apnea. Downs syndrome children often have these characteristics and, therefore, are at risk of becoming victims of sleep apnea.

One cause of apnea in children may be enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The disorder often disappears after these obstruction are removed. Also, watch the child's diet to avoid obesity. Unfortunately, sleep apnea that has apparently been cured or disappears during childhood may reappear in the adult years.

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jerrylowery wrote:
I am not a medical professional, so I can only speak from my personal experiences and what I have been told and learned, concerning my own condition.
Most likely, I have suffered from sleep apnea of one form or another most all of my life. The symptoms seemed to be quite normal and par for the course so to speak. My mother stated that I very often suffered from bout's of severe snoring and periods of sleep in which I would stop breathing, even as a child. I didnt manage to grow out of this problem but instead it seemed to grow worse, as I matured. I am now diagnosed with severe mixed apnea, and according to my pulmonary specialist, I will most likely be on a CPap of one form or another for the rest of my life. From what I understand though, the sooner it is recognized, the sooner it can be treated by whatever means is necessary, which will prevent alot of the longterm negative affects of sleep apnea. But untreated, it can get worse and more dangerous to the sufferer, the longer it is allowed to continue.

Dont know if that helps any, but I would definitely get your child and doc together on this issue.
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Danielle wrote:
Yes, infants can have sleep apnea. My daughter is 21 months and was just diagnosed with this AFTER I raised the question several times to her doctor and finally went to see another doctor about it. She has had it since she was born. She has never slept well-or much at all for that matter! She just had an adenoidectomy for this problem and probably will be getting a tonsillectomy when she is old enough. The only thing I found somewhat helpful was to make sure she was sleeping in an upright position. We just put her to sleep in her car seat in her crib/bassinet and rolled up receiving blankets and put them on her sides so she would not fall over. This worked okay. If she is co-sleeping it may help to have the baby propped up on mom or dad (but this does not allow for good sleep) or a wedge pillow. Good luck.
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