Family, Dogs and Childhood Health Problems Linked to Adult Snoring

Chronic adult snoring has been linked to various health concerns, as well as obvious inconveniences. The development of snoring often starts early in life however, and a recent research team has uncovered some major risk factors during childhood for future adult snoring.

Chronic, or “habitual” snoring, was defined in the current study as “loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights a week.” Past research has linked habitual snoring to serious health concerns, most notably cardiovascular disease. “People who snore run an increased risk of early death and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes,” according to study author Dr. Karl A Franklin. Snoring also is related to sleep loss, both of the snoring individual, and partners that might share the same room or bed. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to numerous physical and mental health problems.

The study surveyed 15,556 individuals about snoring. Following questioning, 18% were categorized as habitual snorers. The study group encompassed both sexes and a wide range of adult ages.

Four seemingly unrelated risk factors during childhood for adult snoring were identified by the researchers, two being medical conditions, and two related to living environment. Being hospitalized for a respiratory ailment before reaching two years of age, and having numerous childhood ear infections, were the two medical problems related to adult snoring. Having a pet dog in the house when one is a newborn, and growing up as part of a large family, were the two environmental factors linked to snoring. Says Dr. Franklin, “These factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life, causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring.”

While snoring is extremely common, and many research teams and treatments aim to help limit adult snoring, little has been done to attack the problem at its roots. Snoring can be dangerous, as well as annoying and inconvenient, and identifying reasons outside of one’s genetic makeup that lead to the problem is very important. Further research must be done to make the above risk factors definitive, but if parents want to prevent the future development of snoring in their children, they should pay attention to the progress of this line of research.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Franklin, Karl A. Respiratory Research news release. August 2008.