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Children Who Snore May Have Asthma

Snoring Among Preschoolers Linked to Asthma, Nighttime Cough
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WebMD Health News

Aug. 11, 2003 -- Snoring children may be more than just a nuisance at night. A new study shows preschool children who snore are twice as likely to have other respiratory problems, such as asthma or nighttime cough.

Researchers say it's the first study to look at the prevalence of snoring among children and its relationship to other respiratory problems, and the findings suggest that treating the snoring issue first may help lessen the other conditions.

"Physicians often use nighttime cough as a guide in diagnosing asthma in young children, and proceed to treat the asthma hoping to eliminate the cough," says researcher Lucy R. Lu, MPH, of the department of medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia, in a news release. "Our study shows nighttime cough may be caused by snoring, rather than asthma. In these cases, treating the snoring would be more effective in reducing cough."

The study, published in the current issue of the journal Chest, compared information on snoring, asthma, nighttime cough, and hay fever (seasonal allergies) from 974 preschool children between the ages of 2 and 5.

Snoring Linked to Other Breathing Problems

Researchers found that 10.5% of the children snored more than four times a week, and 28% suffered from asthma.

When they looked at how the various respiratory problems were related, they found:

  • 42.4% of the snoring children also had asthma compared to only 26.4% of children who did not snore.
  • 61.8% of children who snored also reported nighttime cough versus only 30.5% of non-snoring children.

Researchers say any type of nasal obstruction is known to cause snoring among both children and adults, but more study is needed to understand the relationship between asthma and snoring and nighttime cough.

"Although there is a strong correlation between asthma and snoring, the causal link between the two conditions is unclear," says researcher Colin E. Sullivan, PhD, a professor of medicine at the University of Sydney, in a news release. "Asthma does increase the drive to breathe and increased breathing efforts are known to induce snoring. However, it is possible that snoring may act as a trigger for asthma by allowing allergen-laden mucus from the upper airway to enter the lung airways."

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