We call snoring to a loud sound that occurs when sleeping and that occurs as a result of the vibration of the back of the palate . Snoring has been commonly associated with adults, it is rare to think of young children, however, young children can also snore at times. What’s more, 4% of children between the ages of 2 and 8 snore . Most of these children do not have any type of respiratory distress or pose any kind of danger to their health. However, in one of every four cases there is joint sleep apnea with snoring.
There are several types of snoring:
– Simple or primary snoring : it is a snoring that does not involve serious problems, they simply are what they are. There is no insidious cause behind and they should not be a cause for concern.
– Severe or serious snoring : it is related to sleep apnea. It means that the child’s lungs do not have the capacity to inspire enough oxygen, it may be because there is some type of obstruction that prevents the passage of air from the lungs to the back of the throat, causing the area to vibrate.
WHY DO BABIES SNORE?
It is common for babies to make noise when sleeping, it is even expected, so it should not be a cause for concern for parents. The explanation is due to the fact that the pathways of babies are very narrow and are saturated with secretions that will gradually be eliminated as they develop but that meanwhile cause the air to vibrate when leaving the lungs. As the months go by and the baby grows, the airways expand so the noise through the throat decreases. However, if over time the child does not stop snoring, it could be a sign that part of the airways are blocked and it is advisable to go to the doctor for a check-up.
In other cases, the child’s pathways are perfectly fine, but due to circumstantial events the child snores. The most common are from colds, nasal allergies and an increase in adenoids.
CAUSES OF SNORING IN CHILDREN
In the case of children, the reasons for snoring are different from those of babies, their airways are already wide enough and in principle they should not have problems. What is happening then?
1- Colds . If your child is experiencing or has had a cold, snoring is normal, it is due to the narrowing of the airways due to congestion.
2- Allergies. The best known is allergic rhinitis. Inflammation of the pits favors snoring.
3- Obesity . Obese children have narrower airways and more belly fat.
The more abdominal fat you have, the lower the ventilatory capacity of the chest will be. These cases can be dangerous because children can stop breathing for a few seconds and the brain stops receiving oxygen, with the risk of hypoxia.
4- Asthma. When children’s snoring is accompanied by a nocturnal cough, we are talking about asthma.
5-Deviations in the nasal septum or malformations in the jaw. For example, there are children who have a narrow or pointed palate that favors snoring. On the other hand, some neurological conditions also lead to snoring.
6- Inflammations in the adenoids. Adenoids are glands in the back of the throat. They do not normally interfere with sleep, however when the airways become inflamed they become obstructed and make it difficult for air to escape through the throat.
7- Obstructive sleep apnea. It is the most dangerous cause because it carries a risk of hypoxia. It occurs when the child’s snoring is accompanied by stops in breathing, small intervals in which the child stops breathing. This condition can last just a few seconds or unfortunately last up to a minute, when this happens the brain sends an alert signal to the body so that the person wakes up and can breathe normally. Thanks to this signal the child breathes again, however, unfortunately if this is repeated many times during the night the child will not be able to rest properly and will be tired during the day.
How do I know if it is due to sleep apnea?
To find out, you have to look at the following signs.
– The child gasps, snorts, has pauses and sometimes you notice that when sleeping he stops breathing for more than 15 seconds.
– You wake up suddenly during the night with a gasp.
– Has night sweats .
– You move a lot when sleeping or sleep with your head in an unusual position.
– You are tired during the day , it is difficult for you to concentrate.
– He has a headache and is in a bad mood, irritable.
– Learning difficulties. When children do not rest well, they perform poorly in school, which increases the chances of suffering poor school performance. They are clueless, do not behave properly, and have trouble concentrating.
– They have a nasal voice and note that they frequently breathe through their mouths.
WHAT SOLUTIONS ARE THERE?
Go to the pediatrician if you notice several of the above signs. It may be benign snoring or may stem from sleep apnea. Once there, the doctor will say what is the best treatment for your child.
– Treatment of mild snoring: the doctor will test your child for allergies, asthma or try to find the cause of snoring. Normally the treatment will be the use of nasal sprays and antihistamines.
– Treatment for severe snoring : depending on the cause of the treatment. It can vary between a non-intrusive allergic treatment and other more aggressive ones, which would consist of the removal of the adenoid glands and tonsils.
– Periodic dentofacial evaluations to check if orthodontics may be necessary, there are children with narrow palates, with an oval shape that makes them snore.
– Diet for overweight . If your child is overweight and also has sleep apnea, it is certain that the doctor also recommends that he lose weight, in that case he will give you some eating guidelines and he will recommend moderate exercise several times a week.