The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations telling pediatricians to screen all children for snoring because it could be a sign of a serious illness. Children who snore loudly may suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS). Left untreated, the disorder can lead to growth, heart and pulmonary problems.
As part of a routine examination of patients older than age 1, the pediatricians' group urges doctors to ask whether the child snores. If the answer is yes, doctors should refer the patient for more tests since chronic snoring is often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
Tonsils and/or adenoids that are too big usually cause the condition. Obesity also can result in problems. Fat deposits around the throat can cause it to constrict, and fat in the stomach can prevent the diaphragm from functioning properly. Some30% to 50% of obese children suffer from the syndrome.
If a child has obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, he or she may be getting too little oxygen and too much carbon dioxide. The condition can lead to poor heart and lung development as well as behavioral problems and even death if unchecked. Problems are reversible if the disease is caught early.