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Risk factors for snoring in kids

A range of factors, from obesity to frequent infections, may promote chronic snoring in children.

Risk factors for snoring in kids

A range of factors, from obesity to frequent infections, may promote chronic snoring in children. Habitual snoring can be a symptom of the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnoea, in which tissue in the airways temporarily collapses, disrupting breathing throughout the night. But chronic snoring without sleep apnoea can be a problem in itself. Like adults, children who habitually snore - even in the absence of sleep apnoea - may often fail to get a good night's rest, and therefore have to contend with daytime drowsiness, according to the researcher. Researchers from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, surveyed the parents of 1,144 third-grade students at the start of the study and again one year later. Based on parents' reports, roughly eight percent of the children were initially deemed habitual snorers. One year later, about half of these children were still chronically snoring, while most of the rest were snoring occasionally. While obesity and daytime mouth breathing - an indication of nasal obstruction - were linked to a higher risk of habitual snoring in both boys and girls, there were gender differences when it came to the other risk factors. A mother's education level mattered in boys' risk of chronic snoring, but much less so in girls'. In addition, frequent sore throats appeared far more important in girls' risk of snoring problems than in boys'. One common risk factor was obesity, which may promote snoring when excess fat puts pressure on the throat during sleep. Another was daytime mouth breathing, which may be a sign of chronic nasal congestion, a well-known cause of snoring. Also, frequent sore throats may be an indication of enlarged tonsils, which can obstruct air-flow and lead to snoring. Some of the risk factors the study identified can be changed for example, nasal congestion can be treated with medication, while obstructions such as enlarged adenoid tissue at the back of the throat can be removed with surgery.

Hence it can be concluded that obesity, mouth breathing during the day, frequent sore throats and parents' smoking are factors associated with a higher risk of habitual snoring. But the good news is that some of these risk factors can be changed.
Chest,
September 2004
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