Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sleep disorders are in the genes

06 December 2011, 17:49

Children have an increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea if they have a sibling who has the sleep disorder, new research published in the journal SLEEP shows.

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when airway passages become blocked during sleep, cutting off breathing for brief but frequent periods. It is often accompanied by heavy snoring. OSA is increasingly being recognised in children and the sleep disturbances caused by OSA can lead to daytime learning and behaviour problems in children, as well as more serious health consequences.

Dr. Daniele Friberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and colleagues sought to evaluate the role of heredity and environment in OSA and sleep-disordered breathing by looking at hospitalisation data for the entire population of Sweden age 18 and younger, a total of 2.7 million people.

Between 1997 and 2004, Friberg and her colleagues found, 854 boys and 627 girls received a hospital diagnosis of OSA. Another 13,656 boys and 11,648 girls were diagnosed with enlarged tonsils or enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Boys who had a sibling diagnosed with OSA were 33.2 times more likely to have received the diagnosis themselves, while for girls the risk was increased 40.5-fold.

Boys with a sibling with enlarged tonsils or tonsils and adenoids were 4.53 times as likely to have enlarged tonsils or adenoids themselves, while the risk was nearly 5-fold greater for girls.

While the researchers weren't able to distinguish between the roles of heredity and early environment based on the data, they suggest that both may play a role in whether or not a child develops sleep-disordered breathing.

Based on the findings, Friberg said, parents and doctors should be on the lookout for symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in the brothers and sisters of children diagnosed with the condition.

"Early diagnosis and treatment (of OSA) is important," Friberg noted in an email to Reuters Health, adding that "it may be a progressive syndrome with fatal consequences if left untreated."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Kenyans demand action after femal...

This comes a few days after a female passenger was drugged and then robbed in a matatu plying the Kenyatta – Kencom route. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Natural aphrodisiacs to boost lib...

It is advisable to take them before sex in order to achieve maximum benefit. Read more...

Submitted by
Man defiles girlfriend’s daughter

The two-year-old girl sustained serious injuries due to the forceful penetration. Read more...

Submitted by
Bernard Lugagah
How your birth order affects your...

Mismatched birth orders may be the simple reason you and your significant other don’t seem to get along.  Read more...

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
Raila has lost his remaining bull...

He added that Jubilee and Cord are like day and night. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Changamwe OCPD collapses, dies in...

He had complained of some pain in his body around 11am. Read more...