This posture exerts less pressure on tissues and muscles, facilitating the passage of air.
When the child sleeps on the back, the risk of sleep apnea is reduced, since “this posture exerts less pressure on the tissues and muscles surrounding the oro-pharyngeal cavity, so it is less likely to impede the passage of air,” according to Dr. González Mangado, a specialist in Pneumology and member of the working area on sleep disorders of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR).
Sleep apnea is a disease that affects between 1 and 3 percent of children in Spain, according to the scientific society. Generally, the onset of this disease, which involves frequent interruption of breathing during sleep, is related to the presence of vegetations or angina hypertrophy.
According to experts, this pathology usually appears more frequently between the first and sixth year of life. “The reason is that during this first phase of life it is relatively easy to generate a space conflict around the throat, as the lymphatic and adeno-tonsillar tissue (the popular angina) grows faster than the upper air cavity in which it is located,” Gonzalez explained.
In most cases, the solution is simple: “In more than 90 percent of patients, it is enough to remove the vegetations and angina,” added the pulmonologist. The most complicated cases are those involving cranio-mandibular malformations or other diseases that require different treatment.
The scientific society recommends parents to observe if their children snore or show restless breathing; if this is the case, the appropriate thing to do is to inform the doctor in order to take measures and carry out the pertinent tests.