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If your baby snores regularly it could indicate serious health problems

Health & Science
Sleeping baby
 Photo Courtesy

Unlike with adults, because they're tiny and adorable your baby's snores may seem completely innocuous and, most importantly, harmless.

Certainly, if your baby is sick or has a cold, is exceptionally tired or is not a regular snorer, there are no serious health issues indicated by their snoring.

If they are, however, a habitual snorer – that is for four or more nights a week - there may be cause for concern, Kidspot reveals.

Dr David McIntosh, an internationally recognised ENT expert, specialising in paediatrics explains:

"Breathing is an automated process, controlled by the brain. By monitoring chemical levels in the blood, the brain can work out if the breathing is working properly.

"If the signals to the brain indicate that something is wrong, the brain can alter the rate of breathing to compensate. The problem of airway obstruction [which is what happens when you are snoring] though is that even if the brain recognises there is a problem, increasing the effort of breathing achieves very little.”

"Furthermore, blockage to breathing results in oxygen levels in the blood dropping. This is something the brain does not like very much."

When the brain finds itself deprived of oxygen, it starts to panic, which can cause several problems.

Through his research and through observing children who habitually snore, Dr McIntosh has seen evidence of reduced attention, higher levels of social problems and anxiety, depressive symptoms, cognitive dysfunctions, memory problems and problems with thinking through things logically.

Then there was a much larger study conducted, which monitored 1,000 children over a period of six years, beginning at six months of age.

Its findings were worrying.

Children who snored, breathed through the mouth, or had sleep apnea had a higher incidence of the behavioural issues listed above, and were 50 to 90 per cent more likely to develop ADHD-like symptoms than normal breathers.

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