What is sleep-disordered breathing?
Sleep-disordered breathing refers to a group of breathing abnormalities that occur during sleep. The abnormalities included in this group include:
- Mouth Breathing
- Cessation of breathing
Patients with sleep-disordered breathing also may have some of the following symptoms:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Poor concentration
- Bedwetting(nocturnal enuresis)
Sleep-disordered breathing is a spectrum of disease with children at one end having snoring and children at the other end having significant obstructive sleep apnoea[OSA].
So why do a child experience sleep-disordered breathing?
Patients will have certain obstruction from nose to the throat. The obstruction causes snoring and the lack of oxygen causes the other symptoms associated with sleep-disordered breathing.
The most common cause of sleep-disordered breathing is tonsil and or adenoid enlargement. There are other causes of sleep-disordered breathing but these are relatively rare.
How will this affect a child’s life?
The behaviour of your child can be significantly affected by sleep-disordered breathing. It has been demonstrated that these patients may have some of the following behaviours:
- Increased aggression
- Overly hyperactive
- Manifest signs of depression
- Wet the bed – up to 40% of children with sleep-disordered breathing wet the bed
- Poor memory
- Poor attention
- Poor performance at school
What can be done about sleep-disordered breathing?
If your child has sleep-disordered breathing then it is recommended that your child have an adenotonsillectomy. The decision to go ahead and have an adenotonsillectomy is entirely yours. It is important to understand that the operation will improve the quality of life for your child but is not mandatory. If however, your child has OSA then it is strongly recommended that they have an adenotonsillectomy.
What are the benefits of an adenotonsillectomy in sleep-disordered breathing?
The benefits of having an adenotonsillectomy are very significant and include:
- Increased quality of life for your child
- Improvement in sleep-disordered breathing
- Improvement in behavioural parameters
- Improved school performance
- Reduction in bed wetting