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Health Center Today, June 3, 2011

Snoring Kids Prone to Cardiovascular Problems as Adults, Study Suggests

By Chris DeFrancesco

A study recently published in CHEST, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, suggests childhood sleep disorders could be a precursor to cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

American and Korean researchers found that children with obstructive sleep apnea who had their tonsils and adenoids removed showed improvements in their disorder.

The improvements were measured in terms of positive changes in heart rate variability, an indication of cardiovascular health. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular morbidity and neurocognitive defects.

“This is pretty big news,” says Dr. Jennifer Kanaan of the UConn Sleep Disorders Center, the state’s only board-certified university-based pediatric sleep specialist. “It’s a significant finding that further emphasizes the importance of good sleep health.”

An accompanying editorial notes that data from research obstructive sleep apnea in children are less likely to be impacted by variables as obesity and smoking, which often are associated with the sleep disorder, as well as age.

“The study involved only 18 kids, but what it shows is a significant cardiovascular benefit to treating obstructive sleep apnea,” says Kanaan, who not involved with either article. “Snoring at a young age could impact adult cardiovascular health.”