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Apnea (Snoring, Sleep)

Snoring is common in kids, and it’s not a problem in itself; it’s usually caused by either large adenoids or large tonsils, both of which begin to shrink as early as five years of age, which helps resolve the problem. However, when the snoring includes pauses in breathing that last for more than five seconds and occur several times a night, it could indicate sleep apnea. During these periods of breathlessness, the heart pumps harder to deliver oxygen, which can lead to strain and even enlargement of the heart.

The quality of sleep also suffers. If Jimmy experiences episodes of sleep apnea, he’ll wake up very tired each morning. If you notice these long pauses in his breathing while he sleeps, mention them to his doctor. The treatment may require surgical removal of the tonsils or adenoids, which will make the apnea subside rapidly.

Note that in kids, sleep apnea has nothing to do with being overweight, as it does in adults.