Number Of Children Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea Is On The Rise

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Ask any parent and they know how hard it is when a child just won’t sleep through the night. There could be a medical reason why these kids are waking up on a regular basis.

Jennifer Komsky still remembers what it was like listening to her daughter Barrie try to draw in air. “You could hear her breathing no matter what room she was in,” she explained.

Barrie also snored loudly and often woke up a crying. The pediatrician recommended Jennifer monitor Barrie’s breathing while she slept. She was shocked when she discovered Barrie would stop breathing for up to 10 seconds at a time. “It was a very rude awakening, and we discovered she had very severe sleep apnea,” said Komsky.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Joey Levinson would also wake up a half dozen times a night. His mother also noticed he wasn’t growing as well as his twin brother Matthew. She became nervous when she’d hear Joey snore. “It was a snore that was incomprehensible coming from 34 pound peanut,” she says.

Dr. Ali Strocker diagnosed Joey’s problem. “It was a combination of a very large adenoid and very large tonsils that were contributing to his sleep apnea. I removed both of his tonsils and adenoid tissue,” explained Dr. Strocker.

Dr. Strocker says the number of children diagnosed with sleep apnea is on the rise. She now performs up to six surgeries a week to help kids breathe better. She says one of the reasons this is getting picked up more is because parents are more aware of the condition.

Symptoms for sleep apnea include: snoring loudly; pausing and gasping for air; sleeping with the head tilted back; waking up startled; and having trouble staying awake and focused.

The solution is often surgery. Barrie’s mom believes the results were nothing short of amazing, saying Barrie “just appears healthier, and doesn’t seem so frail or week.

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