An Israeli study has revealed that children who snore in their sleep are at a higher risk of heart disease and that early detection can help reduce the risk.
According to the research, ten percent of children under the age of three snore during their sleep. Among these, a third also suffer from abnormal breathing pauses, or “sleep apnea”. A study from Soroka medical center in Beer-Sheva, Israel, found that children who suffer from sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and should go through surgery.
The study examined 90 children of three years and younger suffering from sleep apnea, as well as 45 children without the symptoms.
Blood tests indicated that children in the former group are at higher risk of developing heart problems. The markers used were two proteins – BNP and CRP. The level of BNP was three times higher in the first group than in the second and the level of CRP double. These markers reflect unhealthy inflammations in children with sleep apnea, which can in many case lead to heart disease.
Dr. Aviv Goldbart, an expert in pediatric pulmonary disease and sleep disorders at the Soroka Medical Center, explained that “these blood markers enable us to detect children at risk without the need to perform an echocardiogram. Identifying children who snore in their sleep is necessary, since early detection can prevent the development of severe heart conditions. The main operations are Tonsillectomy and Polypectomy from the pharynx and nose.”
Goldbart says that the link between snoring and heart dysfunction is still being investigated. “We know that snoring is associated with a decrease of oxygen during sleep, leading to inflammation in the body, as we found increased airway inflammation levels in the bloodstream among the children tested.”