Do you routinely smoke cigarettes? If so, you probably already know about many of the harmful effects of tobacco. However, did you know that secondhand smoke in Wesley Chapel can negatively impact your children’s sleep? Recent research has uncovered a startling connection between secondhand smoke and obstructive sleep apnea in children. Don’t skip today’s blog if you smoke tobacco and have young kids at home.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common condition in which a person experiences short, repeated breathing interruptions while they sleep. These interruptions typically last around 10 seconds and can occur hundreds of times a night. At least 25 million adults in the U.S. are affected by sleep apnea, according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. The most common form of the condition is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People with OSA experience breathing interruptions when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and obstruct the airway while they sleep.
How Is Secondhand Smoke Linked to Sleep Apnea?
You may already know that smoking around children can harm their lungs. Secondhand smoke in Wesley Chapel can cause acute respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, among other serious health problems. However, new research suggests that smoking around children can also worsen existing sleep apnea problems. A recent study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology found that children with sleep apnea who were exposed to secondhand smoke were 48% more likely to experience breathing interruptions while they slept.
Negative Impacts of Sleep Apnea on Kids
Pediatric sleep apnea is believed to be most common in children ages two to eight. The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that up to four percent of all children in the U.S. may suffer from sleep apnea. That represents around three million boys and girls! Untreated sleep apnea can negatively impact the health of your child in the following ways:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can cause problems focusing in the classroom
- Growth and cognitive delays
- Chronic daytime fatigue
- Childhood obesity
- Heart problems
How You Can Take Action
Your child shouldn’t have to suffer from breathing problems at night due to your tobacco habit. If you think your child may be affected by sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact a dentist with experience in dental sleep medicine. They may recommend treatment such as oral appliance therapy to help ensure your child obtains quality sleep. Of course, now that you know about the connection between secondhand smoke and sleep apnea, it may be the perfect time to finally kick the habit!
About the Author
Dr. Jay Nelson has amassed over 500 hours of education in dental sleep medicine and has treated over 1000 patients for sleep breathing disorders. The Ivy League school graduate is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, The American Academy of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine, and the American Board of Sleep & Breathing. To learn more about the connection between sleep apnea and secondhand smoke in Wesley Chapel, visit the Nelson Dental Sleep Medicine website or call 813-733-4169.