Sleep apnea also affects children

Its prevalence in children ranges between 2 and 5% in most studies, and sometimes more, pulmonologist and allergist Madiha Al-Lafi confirmed during a webinar organized on the occasion of the 22nd National Sleep Day, on March 18.

According to Inserm data, the percentage rises to 8% for those aged 20-44, and more for older adults. But for this doctor from Albee, co-founder of the Association for Ideas which promotes care for young patients, obstructive sleep apnea “Relates to at least one in twenty children”, The rate is 100 times greater than the so-called rare disease.

Night snoring, a clinical sign of a possible obstructive sleep syndrome, is not sufficiently taken into account according to specialists, while a recent study by the OpinionWay Institute, which was conducted on a thousand parents, revealed that 6% of children suffer from snoring.

“I often hear people say: Hey, he snores like his grandfather…No, a child who snores is not normal”, It confirmed to AFP Patricia Franco, head of the pediatric sleep unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (HFME) in Bron, near Lyon.

There may be occasional discomfort – stuffy nose for example. “But if the child snores every night, in a prolonged and intense way, you should consider sleep apnea,” The doctor insists to whom “This message does not pass sufficiently in families.”

Small arousal, associated with low oxygen, will alter the child’s psychological development

The disease is often unexpected in children, and it is very harmful, notes André Stagnara, director of rehabilitation at La Maisonnée, a pediatric follow-up care institution located in Francheville (Rhône).

He plays the night recording of a four-year-old: We hear “kind of corn”, The air hardly enters the lungs. Then the sound decreases and breathing stops for about twenty seconds: apnea, which repeats several times an hour.

“He does this all night. However, during REM sleep we record daily learning: partial awakening associated with low oxygen will alter the child’s psychomotor development.” , Practitioner summarizes. “We can’t imagine the wasted potential.”

“To learn how to hold a spoon, articulate, tie shoelaces, read, write, etc., you need a good sleep, so that the brain can do its job of sorting and archiving,” Dr. Lafi abounds. And “In order to sleep well, you have to breathe well.”

Besides snoring, restless nights, difficulty waking up, dark circles in the eyes, pale skin, daytime fatigue, lack of attention at school, hyperactivity or irritability, are other signs and disorders in the child, which should encourage parents to consult, seek specialists.

There are only two children’s bedrooms in France

Nasal drops or anti-allergic treatment Removal of enlarged tonsils or adenoids Maxillofacial physical therapy for tongue repositioning Nasal septal surgery or orthodontics Respiratory system ‘Continuous positive pressure’… Responses to sleep apnea, more or less severe, vary depending on the situation.

It is still necessary to reach a diagnosis. There are two children’s dormitories, each with three registration beds, in France: in Paris (Robert Despres Hospital) and in Bron (HFME), where the waiting time is up “Easy General”, says Patricia Franco.

Since 2019, it has been creating a regional sponsorship network to better meet the demand. The Inter-University Diploma has existed since 2011, with 20 laureates annually, and sleep training in Pediatrics is being developed. The fact remains that specialists are still few in number.

Services like family Also manage recordings but it is “The number is absolutely not enough”, It has been confirmed.

For André Stagnara, the solution includes opening extra beds and using remote monitoring for children with hearing aids. The structure of Franceville is implementing a project in this direction, the financing of which has been approved by the Regional Health Agency for a year of trials.

“It means nothing, Practitioner regrets. We found a pediatrician with pulmonology, which is a blessing from heaven, and we won’t offer her a one-year fixed-term contract…”

with AFP

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