Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) is a common, treatable condition. OSA causes breathing difficulties while sleeping. While it is not uncommon for some children to snore, only a small percentage (2 percent) has OSA.
OSA occurs in people of all ages, but children with OSA can be harder to diagnose. Children with OSA may snort or gasp while snoring and may “suck in” their chests. Their breathing starts and stops during sleep. This is caused by the throat narrowing or closing while they sleep. When breathing stops for short periods of time, it is referred to as apnea.
Children with OSA have trouble sleeping at night. As a result of their extreme sleepiness, they often show behavioral problems during the day. If left undiagnosed, OSA can lead to problems at school, and delayed growth. In extreme cases, OSA can cause heart failure, which is a result of decreased blood oxygen levels.