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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical condition that causes breathing trouble during sleep. Children with weak muscles or low muscle tone, as in Down syndrome, are more likely to have OSA. Read this handout to learn more about OSA in your child with Down syndrome.
Some children with Down syndrome who have OSA may not have any symptoms at all. In some children, the only problems are difficulty paying attention or learning problems.
A sleep study (also known as a “polysomnogram”) is the only way a doctor can diagnose OSA.
All children with Down syndrome should have a sleep study by the age of four. Anyone with Down syndrome who is older than four and has not had a sleep study should have one as soon as possible.
The most common cause of OSA in children is large tonsils and adenoids. Tonsils and adenoids grow most quickly in children between the ages of two and seven years old. Children with Down syndrome are more likely to have OSA because of the following:
An ear-nose-and-throat (ENT) doctor will help you plan the treatment for your child.
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