Sleep Apnea & Genetics
The Connection Between Sleep Apnea & Genetics
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While some people may develop sleep apnea due to environmental factors, it’s been found that genetics can also play a role in the development of this condition.
At DentaCare Dental, our Longview, TX, sleep dentist has years of experience practicing dental sleep medicine and can provide the treatment you need. Discover the connection between sleep apnea and genetics with Dr. Edward Hobbs.
Is Sleep Apnea Genetics?
Yes, sleep apnea can be genetic. Studies have shown that genetics can account for up to 40 percent of the risk of developing sleep apnea. Several genes have been identified that can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. It’s important to note that genetics alone don’t cause sleep apnea. Environmental factors such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption also play significant roles in sleep apnea development.
Signs You Should Look Out If There’s a Family History of Sleep Apnea
If there’s a family history of sleep apnea, you should look out for certain signs that may indicate you’re at a higher risk of developing this condition. Some of these signs include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration or memory
- Irritability or mood changes
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to talk to our Longview sleep dentist about the possibility of sleep apnea.
Understanding the Relationships of Genetics and Sleep Apnea
As mentioned earlier, genetics can account for up to 40 percent of the risk of developing sleep apnea. Some genes that have been associated with sleep apnea include:
- The HLA-DQB1 gene is involved in immune system function.
- The PHOX2B gene is involved in the development of the autonomic nervous system.
- The TNF-alpha gene is involved in inflammation.
These genes can affect the structure and function of the upper airway, which can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea When You Have a Family History
If you have a family history of sleep apnea, it’s essential to take steps to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Some ways you can do this include:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Sleep on your side instead of your back
- Practice good sleep habits
If you do develop sleep apnea, there are several effective treatments available, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliances, and surgery. Talk to your doctor about which treatment options are right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sleep apnea skip a generation?
Yes, sleep apnea can skip a generation. Just because your parents or grandparents have sleep apnea doesn’t necessarily mean you will too. However, having a family history of sleep apnea does increase your risk of developing this condition.
Is sleep apnea always hereditary?
No, sleep apnea isn’t always hereditary. While genetics can factor into the development of sleep apnea, environmental factors such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption also play significant roles.
Can genetic testing be used to determine someone's risk for developing sleep apnea?
At this time, there are no specific genetic tests that can definitively predict someone’s risk for developing sleep apnea. However, researchers are actively studying the genetic factors that may contribute to this condition. It’s possible that genetic testing may become a useful tool in the future.
Can genetics also affect the severity or progression of sleep apnea in individuals who have already been diagnosed?
Yes, genetics can play a role in the severity and progression of sleep apnea in people who have already been diagnosed. For example, certain genetic variations may be associated with more severe cases of sleep apnea or a higher risk of complications like cardiovascular disease.
However, as with the development of sleep apnea, environmental factors such as weight management, exercise, and lifestyle choices also play a significant role in managing and treating this condition.
Talk to Dr. Hobbs About Your Treatment
If you have a family history of sleep apnea, be aware of the signs and take steps to reduce your risk. And if you develop sleep apnea, Dr. Hobbs can provide the treatment you need to get the sleep you deserve.
Contact our practice at (903) 686-9076 or fill out our online contact form below to schedule your no-obligation consultation with Dr. Hobbs at our Longview office. DentaCare Dental treats patients in the Longview community and the surrounding areas like Marshall, Gladewater, Lakeport, and Kilgore, TX.