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Is Sleep Apnea Genetic: Learn About Its Hereditary Contribution

March 30, 2024

If one of your parents uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, you might wonder if it runs in the family. A big part of our identity comes from our genes, like our body shape or hair color. Sleep apnea, too, can sometimes be passed down through families.

That means you might be more likely to have it if your parents or grandparents had it. So, genes can explain why some people have sleep apnea.

Are You Born with Sleep Apnea or Do You Develop It?

Scientists have found that certain genes can make someone more likely to have sleep apnea when breathing stops because of blocked airways during sleep. However, another type called central sleep apnea seems to be mostly caused by things other than genetics.

When your family members have it, you are at a higher risk of getting it. They say that around 40% of why people with OSA stop breathing during sleep could be because of their genes. According to the research hypothesis, the following factors play a role in genetic sleep apnea:

  • Body Fat Amount and Distribution: Genes affect how much you weigh and where fat builds up in your body. This affects whether you might get OSA. People who are very overweight are much more likely to have OSA.
  • Face Anatomy: Genes decide the shape of your face and skull, such as how wide your skull is or the size of your nose. These things affect how open your airway is and whether it can get blocked easily.
  • Breathing Control: Scientists haven’t looked much into how genes affect our breathing, but they think it might influence the muscles and signals involved. This could impact how likely someone is to have sleep apnea.
  • Sleep and Circadian Rhythm: Your genes also decide your natural sleep schedule and how well you sleep. They might even affect you if you have other sleep problems. Researchers want to study how genes affect sleep patterns and sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Excessive research is required to understand why some people are more prone to sleep apnea than others, but one thing is clear: if you have any signs of sleep apnea, it’s important to get tested.

The National Sleep Foundation says up to 20% of people might have sleep apnea, but a lot of them don’t know it. Around 85% go undiagnosed.

This is worrying because untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems. It can make you feel tired during the day and even increase your risk of heart attacks or strokes in the long run.

If anyone in your family has sleep apnea, it’s a good idea for you and your close relatives to get tested, too. Starting treatment early can help you sleep better and stay healthier.

Concluding Thoughts

If you recall your parents snoring when you were younger, you might have thought, “Is sleep apnea genetic?” If it is, there’s not much you can do about it. This is wrong. It is curable, but it won’t vanish by itself, and there are treatments that can help, like preventing snoring.

Visit Dr. Saba Ahmed at Village Park Dentistry. Whether your sleep apnea is due to genetic factors or lifestyle choices, our doctor has advanced education in understanding airway and sleep issues to help you. Dial (281) 376-4444 to reach out.

Disclaimer – Use At Your Own Risk: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs. All blogs are meant to be educational. We advise always consulting with a professional before attempting anything written in a blog. We can not guarantee all of the services that we write about in our blogs. Any attempt to perform anything written in a blog can result in serious injury or fatality without expert guidance and oversight.


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