What is included in patient education about childhood obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary E Cataletto, MD; Chief Editor: Denise Serebrisky, MD  more...
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Patients receiving continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea must understand that they need to use their machines every night and each time they nap.

Educate families of children and adolescents who have obesity and obstructive apnea about nutrition and weight loss.

Obesity is increasing in children; 16-33% of children and adolescents are obese. Primary care providers should provide basic weight loss information and support and readily refer patients to a pediatric weight loss program. A pediatric sleep disorders clinic should work closely with a weight loss program and can be a portal of entry for a patient into such care systems.

Compliance issues are of particular importance in patients treated with noninvasive ventilation. Weight loss through an appropriate program of diet and exercise is clearly beneficial for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are obese.

Avoidance of certain drugs and alcohol

Patients should avoid alcohol and other depressant recreational drugs, which may worsen their sleep apnea. They should avoid sedating medications when possible; if necessary appropriate monitoring and medical supervision is required.

Infants and children with obstructive sleep apnea may have serious respiratory embarrassment when given any sedative medication. Caution is necessary during any medical or dental procedures requiring conscious sedation.

For patient education resources, see the Sleep Disorders Center, as well as Disorders That Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias).

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