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Early Childhood Factors Raise Risk for Snoring
Date:8/22/2008

Ear infections, dogs in the home, and large families all contribute, study finds

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Suffering respiratory or ear infections in early childhood, having a dog in the house as a newborn, and even being raised in a large family all appear to increase the risk of snoring later in life, new research suggests.

The findings may seem incidental but, the study authors point out, snoring has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, not to mention the obvious problems of sleep deprivation for those who snore and those who have to listen.

"No one has studied this potential cause of snoring," said Karl A. Franklin, lead author of a study in the Aug. 22 issue of Respiratory Research and an associate professor of respiratory medicine at University Hospital in Umea, Sweden. "We found that early life infections, recurrent otitis, having a dog as a newborn, and growing up in a larger family was independent of each other and independent of other confounders related to snoring in adulthood."

Another expert, however, points to the study's weaknesses.

"The study has limitations," said Dr. Raanan Arens, chief of respiratory and sleep medicine at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. "This is a very general study based on a questionnaire that simply was distributed to a large number of subjects. You could find statistical significance; however, the meaning of this significance to the clinical arena is unclear."

According to background information in the study, some 16 percent of middle-aged men and 7 percent of women snore habitually.

Often in snorers, the size of the upper airways is reduced. Snoring is also a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, when people actually stop breathing briefly while asleep. Obesity, age, smoking and chronic bronchitis all increase the risk of snoring.

Early life environment has been shown to
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