Atopy and snoring in toddlersBy HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 4th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Think of the phrase “habitual snorer” and you might imagine a paunchy, middle-aged man.
But believe it or not, ten to fifteen percent of preschool children are habitual snorers, meaning they snore at least three nights a week.
That may sound cute, but snoring is the most common symptom of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing. This condition disrupts oxygen intake and has been linked to cognitive deficits in school-age children.
To better understand obstructive sleep-disordered breathing, University of Cincinnati researchers explored one risk factor associated with habitual snoring.
It’s a mysterious, allergy-related illness called atopy [ATT-uh-pee]. Characterized by eczema, conjunctivitis, hay fever and asthma, atopy has a strong hereditary component. But environmental factors are also believed to play a role in its development.
As reported in a recent issue of the journal Chest, the researchers studied about seven-hundred children born to atopic [ay-TOPP-ick] parents.
At the age of one, each child was evaluated for atopy and parents were asked to estimate how often the child snored.
Thirteen percent of the non-atopic children were habitual snorers. But that figure jumped to twenty-two percent for atopic youngsters.
And among children with at least one parent who was a habitual snorer, twenty-two percent also followed suit.
This study shouldn’t alarm parents whose children snore. But it should motivate those whose children snore frequently to discuss the issue with primary-care providers, who may opt to screen these youngsters for obstructive sleep-disordered breathing.
Let’s just say it’s a wake-up call.