Sleep-related breathing disorders, snoring and sleep apnoea are frequent and well-known disorders in children and adults. However, they have been poorly studied in teenagers so far.

Angeles Sánchez-Armengol (Virgen del Rocio University Hospital, Seville, Spain) and colleagues have previously reported sleep-related breathing disorders in 267 teenagers (aged 11-19 years) between 1997 and 2000. In their present study, the authors now publish the evolution of 148 of those adolescents after a 4-year period. The main findings are:

The frequency of snoring is the same as that four years before: 20% of the whole group snored "sometimes" or "often".

Teenagers showed a clear tendency for weight gain, especially boys. This finding could be considered in the context of so-called child obesity epidemics.

Snorers were more obese than non-snorers. They also have "central fat distribution", i.e. fat deposits were located mostly in the neck, thorax and abdomen.

In the former study (adolescents aged 11-19 years) there were no differences related to sex in the frequency of snoring and sleep apnoea. However, four years later, boys were habitual snorers in a higher proportion than girls and showed more alterations in the nocturnal sleep study.

Finally, in the current series habitual snorers had poorer academic performance than non-snorers.

The authors conclude that sleep-related breathing is strongly related to obesity in teenagers and that preventive measures should be undertaken in childhood.

Title Of The Original Article
"Clinical and polygraphic evolution of sleep-related breathing disorders in adolescents."

The European Respiratory Journal is the peer-reviewed scientific publication of the European Respiratory Society (more than 8,000 specialists in lung diseases and respiratory medicine in Europe, the United States and Australia).

European Respiratory Journal

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