Is Sleep Apnea Genetic?

Sleep apnea is caused by a variety of factors–some of these are environmental factors that we can control, while others are handed down at birth. Genetic predispositions are inherited and interact to form characteristics that makeup obstructive sleep apnea, also called OSA. 

Genetic traits that are known to cause OSA include a combination of the following: Model of DNA

  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Narrowed airway
  • Communication between nerve cells
  • Large tonsils
  • Small lower jaw
  • Large neck circumference
  • Appetite control
  • Shape of your face and skull
  • Body fat distribution
  • Heart disease
  • Neural control of the upper airway muscles. 

In fact, between 35 to 40 percent of sleep apnea cases are due to your genetic makeup and the more relatives you have with sleep apnea, the greater your risk for developing the dangerous disorder. If a parent has sleep apnea, you’re 50% more likely to suffer from the condition. Unfortunately, it’s not just the disorder that’s hereditary– the severity of the condition can also be inherited.

While many people associate obesity with sleep apnea, it’s important to realize that people who are fit, or even children can suffer from the condition, especially if there’s a family history of the disorder. While lifestyle factors makeup the majority of cases for sleep apnea, genetic causes shouldn’t be overlooked. 

If you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms and have a family member with sleep apnea, it’s vital that you undergo a sleep study for a proper diagnosis so that we can begin treatment right away.

Your Journey to a Healthy Night’s Rest Starts Now

There are various causes of sleep apnea and Dr. Simmons has the knowledge and expertise to minimize your symptoms so you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy night’s rest. Contact our office to schedule a consultation by calling (818)-300-0070

Dr. Simmons is an American Dental Association recognized specialist in orofacial pain and has a Masters in sleep medicine from a leading international medical school sleep medicine program. Dr. Simmons is also double-board credentialed in both orofacial pain and dental sleep medicine by the two leading internationally recognized credentialing organizations in these two fields of study. 

With his decades of experience and extensive education, he can perform a thorough evaluation and find a treatment that serves you best.