Infant sleep apnea can be confused with SIDS

Infant sleep apnea can be confused with SIDS…

First published at Qondio:

I wrote this a couple of years ago and thought I might repost it here for discussion. I also published a short article about SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)in a couple of my blogsites, and after noting the comments of two unrelated bloggers who had each lost a child to the terrible and heart breaking condition, I wondered if there was any connection between SIDS and sleep apnea, both of which cause the stoppage of breathing. As a consequence I have done a little research
and have come up with the following.

Many people think of sleep apnea as a disease of adulthood, and especially of middle aged adults over the age of 50 years. It is also believed to be more prevalent in men. But the truth of the matter is that anybody can get sleep apnea, from little premature babies to aging senior citizens.

It is common among premature infants whose apnea is caused by brain messages failing to reach the nerves and muscles that control breathing. Their respiratory centres are not yet mature; it is also common for them to have brief episodes of apnea while sleeping.

Infant sleep apnea applies to infants over 37 weeks of age and can be a frightening experience for parents because the infants can stop breathing while asleep. They can become very pale or even bluish in colour and the muscles become very limp. These episodes of sleep apnea are often mistaken for the onset of SIDS; they may well be related but as yet there is no proof of this.

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