Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

1 in 5 Kids Who Snore Have Sleep Apnea

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

April 2, 2002 -- Children who snore may have obstructive sleep apnea, a serious and underdiagnosed disorder that can lead to learning problems, growth retardation, and even heart and brain damage. In light of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed guidelines to help pediatricians recognize and treat the condition before serious health problems occur.

The AAP estimates that 2% of preschool children have snoring associated with sleep apnea, which is most often caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. In untreated children, the condition may lead to irreversible neurologic problems, says child sleep expert Carole L. Marcus, MBBCh, chairperson of the AAP guidelines committee.

"This is a common problem among children, with potentially serious consequences," Marcus tells WebMD. "But many parents don't even bring up snoring with their child's pediatricians, and pediatricians don't typically ask about it. One reason for the guidelines is to make both parents and pediatricians aware of it." Marcus is director of the pediatric sleep center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The AAP guidelines call on pediatricians to ask about snoring during routine checkups. While not all children who snore have associated health problems, physicians are urged to take a thorough sleep history of patients who do.

Children who snore nightly and also have behavioral, learning, or health problems that might be related to their snoring should be referred to a sleep lab for overnight study. Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids is the first line of treatment for the majority of children who have obstructive sleep apnea. Roughly 95% of pediatric patients can be cured with this surgery, Marcus says.

While as many as one in 10 children snore nightly, pediatric sleep researcher David Gozal, MD, says it is not clear how many of them have health problems associated with snoring. Current estimates suggest that one in five children who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, but many more than that may have unrecognized snoring-related problems, he says.

"Snoring is not normal. No child should snore," Gozal tells WebMD. "But it is true that some children appear to have no health problems associated with it. I think as we learn more, we will find that more children have problems than we realize."

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Woman looking at pregnancy test
calendar and baby buggy
dark chocolate squares