Asthma and nasal congestion common insomnia triggers

Published on November 30, 2012 at 5:15 PM · No Comments

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Insomnia is a common problem in patients with asthma, suggests research published in Allergy.

Uncontrolled asthma and nasal congestion combined, increase the risk for insomnia still further over asthma alone, say Christer Janson (Uppsala University, Sweden) and colleagues.

Previous studies have shown a link between asthma and increased prevalence of insomnia, perhaps due to increased symptoms of asthma during the night.

"This is partly due to physiological changes in ventilation and lung volumes during sleep, but, in addition, both increased airway inflammation and altered hormonal signaling are seen in the night with nocturnal asthma," write the authors.

To investigate further, Janson and team carried out a postal survey of 25,610 adults living in four Swedish cities. The participants were questioned about insomnia, asthma, rhinitis, weight, height, tobacco use, and physical activity.

The authors confirmed previous suggestions of a link between asthma and insomnia, with 47.3% of asthmatics reporting insomnia, compared with 37.2% of non-asthmatics.

More severe asthma also increased the risk for insomnia, with those reporting three symptoms of asthma at 2.65-fold increased risk for insomnia compared with asthmatics with no symptoms.

In people reporting both uncontrolled asthma and nasal congestion, the rate of insomnia was higher still, at 55.8%, compared with 35.3% in those without asthma and nasal congestion.

Nasal congestion alone, obesity, and smoking also increased a person's risk for insomnia by 50%, 54%, and 71%, respectively, notes the team.

"Sleep disturbances still remain a common problem among asthmatics in the 21st century," write Janson and co-workers.

"This must not be overlooked by physicians treating asthma patients, because sleep disturbances can be alleviated by improving asthma control and by treating concomitant nasal congestion."

However, they concede that "The results of the study should be confirmed using objective measurement such as sleep recordings."

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