Snoring may not seem like a big deal, but doctors say it can be a symptom of much more serious health problems, especially in children.
Seven-year-old Jessa Geideman of Mesa used to have an assortment of ailments.
"Stomach aches and headaches," Jessa said. "My head used to hurt all the time."
"You suffer as a parent," said Jaime Geideman, Jessa's mother. "Seeing your child suffer and not being able to explain it is hard."
A teacher even sent a note home saying the Mesa second-grader was falling asleep at school.
It made sense, since Jessa wasn't getting a lot of sleep at home because of her snoring.
"It became increasingly worse last year when friends didn't want to have sleepovers with her anymore because she snores so loud," Jessa's mom said.
Mom never really made the connection between her daughter's snoring and Jessa's health problems until they went to the Valley Sleep Center.
"The amount of sleep, restful sleep she was getting was really low, a dangerously low level," said Jaime Geideman. "She was even having oxygen depletion at a low level during the night."
Dr. Maria Martinez, a pediatric sleep specialist, said that snoring in children is more common than you think, but it's not always taken seriously because parents don't realize the underlying health issues it can create.
"It can lead to learning difficulties and behavioral problems," said Martinez. "Pulmonary hypertension can occur in kids. Even though there may be no signs of pulmonary hypertension in an echo, they can still have dysfunction in the heart."
It turned out all Jessa needed was to have her tonsils and adenoids taken out, and her snoring problem disappeared, giving her a lot more energy during the day and no more falling asleep at school.
"Ever since, she's had no headaches when she wakes up," said Jaime Geideman. "She's actually getting a restful night sleep. It's just made a world of difference."
Doctors recommend paying close attention to how your child sleeps.
If they snore, or seem to stop breathing for short periods of time, they may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that needs to be addressed, Martinez said.
The sooner kids can be treated, the sooner they can get some good rest and the healthier they will be, according to sleep experts.
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