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Does Your Child Snore? It Can Be Dangerous

First Posted: Feb 29, 2016 01:16 PM EST

Snoring in children from time to time is often harmless. However, new research from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg shows that frequent snoring and breathing problems can equal an increased risk of trouble concentrating and learning problems.

A Swedish population study looked at 1,300 children from 0-11, showing that about 5 percent snored several times every week. However, despite distinct signs of this health issue, only about one third of the children who snored sought medical attention for the problem.

"Children with persistent snoring often have a reduced quality of life. In particular, this applies to children who have sleep apnea," said Gunnhildur Gudnadottir, Researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, in a news release. "The study shows that awareness is low regarding the negative effects of breathing disturbances during sleep on children's health and that most parents are not aware that this is something that should be investigated. An obvious result of the study is that we must consider how parents are given information about the condition and where they can seek help."

The findings revealed that the most common reason for snoring in children involved enlarged tonsils or adenoids; in many cases, snoring can be cured or reduced via surgery, researchers say. 

The National Sleep Association (NSA) shows that opening and closing of the air passages result in a vibration of tissues in the throat that cause snoring. Typically, the loudness of snoring is affected by how much air passes through and how fast the throat tissue is vibrating.

Children who are three years or older tend to snore during the deeper stages of sleep, according to the NSA. Primary snoring is defined as snoring that is not associated with more serious problems such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), frequent arousals from sleep, or inability of the lungs to breathe in sufficient oxygen.

According to Gothenburg researchers, they advise that children with severe snoring and sleep apnea problems look to healthcare providers for medical evaluation regarding the next steps on getting help. 

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