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Breathing Habit

Breathing Habit

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Published by samathana

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Published by: samathana on Aug 21, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Apnea – Breathing Type
Everyone has brief pauses in his or her breathing pattern called apnea. Usually these brief stops inbreathing are completely normal. Sometimes, though, apnea or other sleep-related problems can be acause for concern.
Types of Apnea
The word apnea comes from the Greek word meaning "without wind." Although it's perfectly normalfor everyone to experience occasional pauses in breathing, apnea can be a problem when breathingstops for 20 seconds or longer.There are three types of apnea:1.obstructive2.central3.mixed
Obstructive Apnea
A common type of apnea in children, obstructive apnea is caused by an obstruction of the airway(such as enlargedtonsilsandadenoids). This is most likely to happen during sleep because that's when the soft tissue at back of the throat is most relaxed. As many as 1% to 3% of otherwise healthypreschool-age kids have obstructive apnea.Symptoms include:
snoring (the most common)
labored breathing while sleeping
gasping for air
very restless sleep and sleeping in unusual positions
changes in colorBecause obstructive sleep apnea may disturb sleep patterns, these children may also show continuedsleepiness after awakening in the morning and tiredness and attention problems throughout the day.Sometimes apnea can affect school performance. One recent study suggests that some kids diagnosedwithADHDactually have attention problems in school because of disrupted sleep patterns caused byobstructive sleep apnea.Treatment for obstructive apnea involves keeping the throat open to aid air flow, such as withadenotonsillectomy (surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids) or continuous positive airwaypressure (CPAP), which involves having the child wear a nose mask while sleeping.
Central Apnea
When the part of the brain that controls breathing doesn't start or maintain the breathing processproperly it's called central apnea. It's the least common form of apnea (except in very prematureinfants, in whom it's seen fairly commonly because the respiratory center in the brain is immature)and often has a neurological cause. An example of normal central apnea would be the short pause thatoccurs following a deep a sigh.
Mixed Apnea
Mixed apnea is a combination of central and obstructive apnea and is seen particularly in infants oryoung children who have abnormal control of breathing. Mixed apnea may occur when a child is awakeor asleep.
Conditions Associated With Apnea
Apnea can be seen in connection with:
Apparent Life-Threatening Events (ALTEs)
An ALTE itself is not a sleep disorder — it's an event that's a combination of apnea, change in color(bluish lips or face), change in muscle tone, choking, or gagging. Call 911 immediately if your childshows the signs of an ALTE.
ALTEs, especially in young infants, are often associated with medical conditions that require treatment(such as gastroesophogeal reflux [GERD], infections, or neurological disorders). ALTEs are scary toobserve, but can be uncomplicated and may not happen again. However, any child who has an ALTEshould be seen and evaluated immediately.
Apnea of Prematurity (AOP)
AOPcan occur in infants who are bornprematurely(before 34 weeks of pregnancy). Because the brain or respiratory system may be immature or underdeveloped, the baby may not be able to regulate hisor her own breathing normally. AOP can be obstructive, central, or mixed.Treatment for AOP can involve the following:
keeping the infant's head and neck straight (premature babies should always be placed ontheir backs to sleep to help keep the airways clear)
medications to stimulate the respiratory system
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) — to keep the airway open with the help of forcedair through a nose mask
oxygenPremature infants with AOP are followed closely in the hospital. If AOP doesn't resolve beforedischarge from the hospital, an infant may be sent home on an apnea monitor and parents and othercaregivers will be taughtCPR. The family will work closely with the child's doctor to have a treatmentplan in place.
Apnea of Infancy (AOI)
Apnea of infancy occurs in children who are younger than 1 year old and who were born after a full-term pregnancy. Following a complete medical evaluation, if a cause of apnea isn't found, it's oftencalled apnea of infancy. AOI usually goes away on its own, but if it doesn't cause any significantproblems (such as low blood oxygen), it may be considered part of the child's normal breathingpattern.Infants with AOI can be observed at home with the help of a special monitor prescribed by a sleepspecialist. This monitor records chest movements and heart rate and can relay the readings to ahospital apnea program or save them for future examination by a doctor. Parents and caregivers willbe taught CPR before the child is sent home.
If You Think Your Child Has Apnea

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