What Causes Sleep Apnea in Children?
While weight and age are the main contributing factors for sleep apnea in adults, enlarged tonsils and adenoids commonly cause sleep apnea in children. Childhood obesity may also cause sleep apnea in children, but it’s believed to only be a factor among children 12 to 18 years of age and not younger.
Other less common causes of sleep apnea in children include but are not limited to the following:
- Congenital syndromes that give rise to facial, oral, and throat anomalies that can disrupt the airway
- Storage diseases, hypothyroidism, and Down syndrome that may result to upper airway crowding
- Neuromuscular diseases and Chiari malformations that give abnormal muscle tone to the pharyngeal constrictors
- Sickle cell diseases
- Cerebral palsy