TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Kids who snore should be evaluated for sleep apnea. That's the main recommendation that comes from a set of updated guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"The evidence is much stronger today," said Dr. Carole Marcus, a professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Pediatricians should routinely ask parents about snoring, but if they don't, parents should bring it up," she said. "Snoring in kids can be a sign of a serious medical illness."
Marcus was referring to sleep apnea, which is marked by pauses in breathing that occur throughout the night and disrupt sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea in children can result in behavioral and learning difficulties and may also affect growth. These consequences are largely related to lack of quality sleep.
Researchers led by Marcus reviewed studies on diagnosis and management of sleep apnea in kids published between 1999 and 2011, most of them appearing after the last set of guidelines were released in 2002. The new guidelines are published in the September issue of Pediatrics.
If a child snores, pediatricians need to follow-up with a thorough history and exam, she noted. "If this all points to sleep apnea, then get a sleep study," Marcus said. The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea is a formal sleep study, but this is not always possible for young children because it involves sleeping in a laboratory environment away from home. Other options may include a home sleep study where children are hooked up to a monitor in the comfort of their regular bedroom, or asking parents to videotape the child during what they believe may be an apnea episode.
Many children with sleep apnea have enlarged tonsils and adenoids. In these kids, removing tonsils and adenoids may cure the sleep apnea. Other treatments include positive airway pressu
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