Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder which currently affects about 18,000,000 people in the USA alone. This figure represents approximately 1 in 15 or 6.62% of the population which does not take into account an estimated additional 2% to 4% of the population who are believed to be suffering from the condition but who are as yet undiagnosed.
However, what most people do not realize is that there are also a surprisingly large and growing number of children who suffer from sleep apnea, with estimates showing that approximately 2% of all children suffer from sleep apnea.
In the case of children sleep apnea deserves particularly close attention as at this crucial stage of development the condition can lead to memory, IQ and learning problems.
In many cases obstructive sleep apnea results in no small measure from overweight and the first step in treating the problem is therefore to lose a little weight. This however is not always as simple as it sounds and frequently fails to reduce the problem enough. Lumin vs Soclean
For many children the next stage is to use an oral appliance while sleeping. These oral appliances need to be custom made for the child and fitted by an orthodontist and are made to hold the lower jaw in a position that makes sure that the throat is kept open while the child is sleeping. Again improvement is not always satisfactory and many children are far from happy wearing them.
The best option when it comes to treating sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway machine which delivers a steady stream of air through a mask that is worn while sleeping and which maintains an open airway.
CPAP machines have proved to be very successful although, like any treatment, they only produce good results when they are used correctly and here we encounter a problem with children.
In a recently conducted study a number of children having CPAP treatment were monitored over a 6 month period to determine how closely they followed the medical advice they were given for the use of their CPAP machines. The children underwent sleep studies at the start and end of the evaluation period and they and their parents were questioned closely by researchers about their use of the machines. In addition, the machines used for the study were equipped with meters to record the use of the machines.
The study reported that over seventy-five percent of the children did not make use of their machines every night and that even the relatively small number of children who used the machines consistently were using them for only about 5 hours each night which was not enough to gain the maximum benefit from their use. Perhaps most importantly, taking into account the fact that many of the children in the study were very young and therefore required parental supervision to ensure the correct use of their machines, the study discovered that the vast majority of parents overestimated the use of the system by about two hours every night.