The most common symptom of SDB is snoring that is loud, present every night regardless of sleep position, and ultimately interrupted by complete obstruction of breathing with gasping and snorting noises.
Approximately 10% of children are reported to snore. 10% of these children (one percent of the total pediatric population) have obstructive sleep apnea.
When an individual, young or old, has obstructed breathing during sleep, the body thinks it is choking. This causes the heart rate to slow, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, blood pressure rises, the brain is aroused, and sleep is disrupted.
In most cases a child’s vascular system can tolerate the changes in blood pressure and heart rate. However, a child’s brain does not tolerate the repeated interruptions to sleep, leading to a child that is sleep-deprived, cranky, and ill-behaved. Ironically, in contrast to adults, kids who are chronically tired often behave in a hyperactive fashion.