Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is increasingly being recognised as a cause of morbidity even in young children. With an estimated prevalence of 1 to 4 per cent, SDB results from having a structurally narrow airway combined with reduced neuromuscular tone and increased airway collapsibility. SDB in children differs from adults in a number of ways, including presenting symptoms and treatment. Presentation may differ according to the age of the child. Children have a more varied presentation from snoring and frequent arousals to enuresis to hyperactivity. Those with Down syndrome, midface hypoplasia or neuromuscular disorders are at higher risk for developing SDB. First line definitive treatment in children involves tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Rapid maxillary expansion, allergy treatment and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are other options. As untreated SDB results in complications as learning difficulties, memory loss and a long term increase in risk of hypertension, depression and poor growth, it is important to diagnose SDB.
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