Washington, Jan 29 : People who snore regularly are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis, according to a new study.
Chronic bronchitis involves inflammation of the lower airways accompanied by a persistent cough and the production of mucus or phlegm.
For the study, lead researcher Inkyung Baik, Ph.D., of the Korea University Ansan Hospital, and colleagues, examined 4,270 individuals including 52 percent men and 48 percent women and asked how often they snored.
For every two years from 2001 up to 2006, participants were re-examined and categorized for growing chronic bronchitis following frequent cough and sputum (phlegm produced during cough) at least three months per year for at least two years.
The four-year follow-up showed that 314 individuals developed chronic bronchitis and the individuals who snored regularly were more likely to develop bronchitis.
"The mechanisms underlying the association between snoring and chronic bronchitis are largely unknown," wrote the authors.
The researchers also found that people who snored five to six times per week or less were 25 percent more likely to develop bronchitis.
While those who snored six to seven times per week were 68 percent more likely to develop bronchitis, they reported.
"It has been suggested that structural or functional changes in the airway due to inflammation may cause snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Conversely, repeated snoring vibrations may act as mechanical stresses, leading to increased inflammatory response in the upper airway," the authors said.
The researchers believe that further investigations are required to validate the association between snoring and chronic bronchitis.
The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.