Childhood snoring could be a sign of a serious sleep disorder

BESSEMER, Ala. (CBS42 Community) – A fresh calendar year is a time when most of us like to better ourselves with resolutions. Have you ever thought about working on your sleep quality?

What about helping your children get better sleep? We caught up with Dr. Micahel Latshaw who is an ENT at Medical West Hospital. He says that a common problem he sees in children is sleep apnea. This sleep disorder can be caused by everything from congenital problems to swollen tonsils and adenoids. Latshaw says these conditions can significantly affect a child's early life.

"Kids that don't get good quality sleep are more likely to exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity. Studies have shown recently that a lot of kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD and ADD, when really it comes down to they're not getting the right sleep that they need," said Latshaw.

Latshaw says to watch for the following warning signs that something might be wrong with your child's sleep quality: if you have "difficulty waking them up in the morning, or teachers saying, 'well, he's falling asleep' or, 'he's just tough to reign in.' If their grades are falling off, or if there's symptoms of hyperactivity and just inability to focus."

Most commonly, Latshaw says surgical removal of the tonsils can fix the problem. However, treatment of the condition always depends on the patient.

"Sometimes it can be as simple as a steroid nasal spray to help open up the nose or treatment of allergies in another way. In some cases, children outgrow their sleep apnea. As their faces and their bodies grow, the airway opens up, and they stop snoring," Latshaw said. Children may even need a CPAP, or surgeries to correct the problem.

"I would say if there's any concern at all, come and see us. We can talk about exactly what's going on and what we can do to help. I think, more than anything, the earlier that the problem is addressed, the better quality of life the child will have, the better the chance they will have to learn and develop as they should. And at the same time, it gives the parents peace of mind that something else isn't going on," said Latshaw.

To find out more about Medical West Hospital ENT services, visit medicalwesthospital.org or call 205-481-8620.

This article was sponsored by UAB Medical West

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