What’s the Link Between Sleep Apnea & Genetics?

March 15, 2023

Many individuals do not realize that the disorder they are suffering from might run in their family. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there’s a possibility that it was passed down. The belief that there exists a connection between mouth and body is well-founded; sleep apnea is known to be associated with weight gain. So what is to say that it is not hereditary?

If you are curious about the connection between sleep apnea and genetics, you will find this article quite enlightening. Carry on reading to learn more about this phenomenon.

Signs You Have Sleep Apnea

Do you suspect you have sleep apnea? You can visit a specialist to diagnose the condition. However, a few sleep apnea symptoms will also occur that will hint at the presence of the disorder. These include:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air when sleeping
  • Instances where you stop breathing during sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Inability to focus when awake
  • Irritability
  • Hypersomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Headache in the morning
  • Trouble staying asleep

Sleep Apnea Might Be a Genetic Condition

There are two common types of sleep apnea that occur: central and obstructive. In most cases, obstructive sleep apnea is linked with genetics, whereas central sleep apnea is rarely related to genes. This is because central sleep apnea is usually caused by non-genetic factors. However, it is still connected to other parts of your body since the causes include heart conditions, brain tumors, head trauma, stroke, drug use, and more.
Obstructive sleep apnea, subsequently, is associated with genetics in multiple ways. High blood pressure, heart disease, and other factors responsible for this condition have a hereditary component to them. Other than conditions, specific genes have been connected with the occurrence of sleep apnea as well, including:

  • Angiopoietin-2 gene (ANGPT2)
  • G-protein receptor gene (GPR83)
  • Serotonin receptor encoding gene (HTR2A)
  • Dopamine receptor D1 encoding gene (DRD1)
  • Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPAR1)
  • β-arrestin 1 gene (ARRB1)
  • Prostaglandin E2 receptor EP3 subtype (PTGER3)
  • −308G/A polymorphism of the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα)

That’s not all! Certain anatomical features are also known to put an individual at risk of sleep apnea. These include a narrow jaw or throat, small chin, large tongue, and enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In short, sleep apnea is connected to your genetics since a lot of conditions that run in your family can cause this condition.

Risk Factors

If a close relative has sleep apnea, you should consult a doctor. They can help you develop a personal plan to steer clear of this condition. Moreover, you should inform your healthcare provider if you suffer from health conditions that can lead to sleep apnea. Other than genetics, here are some risk factors that can cause sleep apnea:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Insufficient physical activity or exercise

What Should I Do?

Yes, sleep apnea can be genetic. Therefore, you should talk to a specialist if you suspect you are susceptible to developing this condition. Our experts at Whole Health Dental Center can address the health concerns you have, offering effective treatment plans that improve your overall health. Dial (703) 385-6425 to talk to us now. You can also come to meet us at 7115 Leesburg Pike, Suite #310, Falls Church, VA 22043.

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