A predisposition to adult snoring can be established very early in life. New research describes possible childhood risk factors, including exposure to animals, early respiratory or ear infections and growing up in a large family.
Karl A Franklin from University Hospital Umeε, Sweden, and a team of Nordic researchers questioned more than sixteen thousand randomly selected people from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Estonia about their childhood and their snoring habits. According to Franklin "A total of 15,556 subjects answered the questions on snoring. Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights a week, was reported by 18%".
Being hospitalised for a respiratory infection before the age of two years, suffering from recurrent ear infections as a child, growing up in a large family and being exposed to a dog at home as a newborn were all independently related to snoring in later life. The authors speculate "These factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life, causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring".
As well as the obvious problem of sleep deprivation for snorers and those unfortunate enough to share a room with them, research has also shown that people who snore also run more serious risks. Franklin said, "People who snore run an increased risk of early death and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes".
The authors conclude, "These new findings suggest that further knowledge about the early life environment may contribute to the primary prevention of snoring".
- Karl A Franklin, Christer Janson, Thorarinn Gislason, Amund Gulsvik, Maria Gunnbjornsdottir, Birger N Lerum, Eva Lindberg, Eva Norrman, Lennarth Nystrom, Ernst Omenaas, Kjell Toren and Cecilie Svanes. Early life environment and snoring in adulthood. Respiratory Research, (in press)
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