Monday, January 25, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree: The Effects of Smoking on Sleep Apnea in Adults and Children

Researchers have long known that smoking can increase a person’s risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

A 2001 study in the journal Sleep and Breathing examined the prevalence of smoking in patients with OSA compared to patients without OSA.

The researchers compiled a group of 108 OSA patients who had an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of greater than 10 events per hour. They compared these patients’ smoking history with that of 106 people without OSA.

They found that 35 percent of the OSA patients smoked. In contrast, 18 percent of patients without OSA smoked.

Smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely to have OSA than former smokers and nonsmokers combined.

Smokers who quit saw their risk for sleep apnea decrease. In the study, former smokers were no more likely than people who had never smoked to have OSA.

Researchers now believe that parents’ smoking habits can also disturb their children’s’ sleep.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that asthmatic children who lived with a smoker had more sleep disturbances than asthmatic children not exposed to smoke.
The study included 219 children. All of them were aged six to 12.

The researchers interviewed parents about their children's sleep habits, asthma severity and exposure to secondhand smoke at home and elsewhere. They also took blood samples to measure the children’s exposure to tobacco smoke.

The results showed that children who lived with a smoker, tended to have poorer sleep at night. Sleep troubles included nighttime breathing symptoms. They also had difficulty falling asleep and experienced more sleepwalking, nightmares and night terrors. These children also felt drowsier during the day.

The researchers suggested that the children’s nighttime breathing problems contributed to their daytime sleepiness. Childhood sleep disturbances can impact attention and behavior problems, and poorer school performance.

The researchers thought that the smoke and nicotine may have damaged the children’s airways and sleep patterns.

The study only included children with asthma, but secondhand smoke may also disturb the sleep of otherwise healthy children.

Read the full Reuters Health article at Fox News.

Image by Anachronista

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.