Q. My 4-year old daughter snores at night. Is this normal? Should I be concerned? Her sleep is not peaceful, and she seems tired all of the time. What should we do?
Snoring is common in children, and most snoring does not cause any problems. However, about 2 percent of children have more serious snoring that needs to be treated.
If a child has intermittent snoring that is associated with colds or nightly gentle snoring, there is most likely no reason for concern. On the other hand, chronic, loud, harsh, disruptive snoring is more worrisome. Some potential causes of snoring include enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies and obesity.
The first step to treating snoring is to identify and treat any of these underlying conditions.
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Snoring can also be a sign of a more serious problem called obstructive sleep apnea. Children with obstructive sleep apnea may gasp or have breathing pauses during sleep. Other signs of obstructive sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, behavioral problems and attention problems.
Occasionally, children will need to undergo something called a “sleep study” as part of the evaluation for snoring and sleep apnea. Some children may need to be seen by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon) to have their tonsils and adenoids evaluated and removed if necessary.
Q. My 20-year old son is already balding. Is there anything he can do to preserve his hair? Should we be concerned of a more serious health problem? He just seems too young to be balding.
The most common cause of baldness is something called androgenic alopecia, or “male pattern baldness.” Many times there is a history of other men in the family who have begun losing hair at a similar age.
Although most cases of hair loss fit into this category, he should see his healthcare provider to rule out other causes of hair loss. Some of these include certain vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, androgenic steroid use, fungal infections of the scalp or trauma to the scalp.
Once the diagnosis of androgenic alopecia is established, he should see a dermatologist to discuss treatment options. Most treatments prevent further hair loss rather than produce hair re-growth, so early treatment is essential.