How Sleep Apnea is Different in Adults and Children, With Dr. Larry Pribyl, Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, Independence, Missouri
Sleep apnea is classified based on the number of events one stops breathing at night. An AHI, or apnea hypopnia index, is the classification system used to determine if one has sleep apnea and its severity, says Dr. Larry Pribyl, of the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Independence, Missouri. When one stops breathing for less than 5 seconds, no apnea is present. When one stops breathing for 5-15 seconds, it's considered mild apnea, for 15-30 seconds, it's moderate apnea and more than 30 seconds is considered severe. "This has a vital impact on our vital organs and our heart," Dr. Pribyl says.
For children, if they have an apnea event just once, that's classified as needing treatment, as this is a serious issue, Dr. Pribyl says, adding that if a child isn't getting into good sleep, they're not producing enough growth hormone.
A sleep study is the gold standard when diagnosing sleep apnea for most patients, says Dr. Pribyl and for kids, it's an observed thing first by the parents. He notes that the risks are more severe in a way when you talk about growing children who need their oxygen through the night. "There is a strong relationship between sleep apnea and ADHD and those who bed wet," Dr. Pribyl adds. In fact, children don't experience daytime sleepiness that adults do, as the sleep apnea manifests itself differently with children than adults, making them wired.
Dr. Larry Pribyl is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder videos, and is a dentist in Independence, Missouri with the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea.