On Monday, August 27th 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new guidelines for physicians regarding uncomplicated obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep in relation to enlarged tonsils or obesity. These new guidelines come ten years after initial guidelines were implemented in 2002 where further research on childhood sleep apnea was produced. Between 1999 and 2010, 3166 new articles were written with 350 providing relevant data. The report states that if left untreated, delayed diagnosis of childhood sleep apnea can lead to complications affecting behavior, learning, cardiovascular system, growth and development.Recommendations remain similar: at routine health visits for all children, physicians should inquire if a child or teen snores regularly. Standard of care remains focused on sleep studies, adenotonsillectomy, CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure – a nighttime breathing apparatus) and weight reduction.
A search query for AAP sleep guidelines shows an abundance of coverage for the recent news. However, what happens next will strengthen these guidelines. Zansors believes three areas of focus need to occur:
- Awareness – Sleep medicine for children needs more attention. Your child’s sleep is related to many aspects of their lives and guides their daytime activities. Sleep affects their health and wellness, therefore, we should learn more about a child’s sleep beyond the amount of sleep, but also the quality of sleep he/she gets each night.
- Physician action – Physicians are clear on their screening practices. The total spectrum of sleep quality should be evaluated beyond snoring and sleep-related breathing disorders.
- Parent empowerment – The most likely opportunity to report to a pediatrician if a child snores is by the parents who need easy-to-understand, self-help tools and guiding information to participate in this process to initiate proper identification and management of childhood sleep apnea.
We at Zansors are passionate about improving sleep quality for children and teens. The Sleep ChampTM app addresses concerns addressed by the AAP. Sleep ChampTM guides parents through a series of questions relating to snoring, breathing difficulties, behavior, growth and development. After answering questions, a score report is generated which can be printed or emailed. Sleep ChampTM also includes web resources to help parents understand various medical terms addressed in the questions. These questions were developed through 15 years of clinical research by Dr. Ronald Chervin of the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We find this can be a powerful tool for parents who wish to initiate the evaluation of sleep apnea for their child. If you are still not convinced about Sleep ChampTM, then check out our other blogs by our own staff who are parents or even my “Top 10” list.
In the coming days, we will announce our strategy for social engagement and public service for those who wish to join a community of empowered parents who wish to utilize the AAP’s guidelines. Physicians need the collaborative efforts of parents in identifying children who snore.
Child snoring is not funny, child snoring is serious.
Ranjit Das, M.D. Zansors Chief Medical Innovation Officer
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