CHILDREN who have regular chest infections are at higher risk of developing sleep apnea later in life, a study shows.
Australian researchers found that children whose parents smoked or had asthma were also at higher risk of the dangerous disease.
Having pneumonia or frequent bronchitis before age seven increased the risk by more than 20 percent, they said.
Dr. Chamara Senaratna from the University of Melbourne said: “We have found new associations between maternal asthma, parental smoking and frequent lower respiratory tract infections before the age of seven with obstructive sleep apnea in adults.”
“These may be useful to highlight the risk of obstructive sleep apnea in clinical practice and to create awareness and vigilance among at-risk groups.”
According to the Sleep Apnea Trust, around 10 million Brits suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
The condition causes breathing to start and stop while sleeping, as well as wheezing, snorting, choking, loud snoring, and poor sleep quality.
Severe tiredness can occur during the day, and headaches, mood swings and difficulty concentrating often occur.
According to the NHS, sleep apnea can lead to a variety of fatal complications including high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.
The study, published in Respirology, looked at how early life factors can increase your risk of this in adulthood.
Researchers surveyed parents of 3,550 children aged seven to find out what risk factors they had.
The children were followed until age 53, when they were asked questions to determine whether they had or were likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.
The results showed that children whose mothers smoked had a 50 percent higher risk of OSA.
Childhood pneumonia increased the risk by 30 percent, while a mother who smoked increased the risk by 20 percent.