In What Ways Is Sleep Apnea Related to Genetics?

May 30, 2023 | Blog

Did you know sleep apnea might be hereditary? If you or your close one have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, chances are it was passed down. Therefore, it is very likely that sleep apnea shares a connection with genetics. Since it can cause weight gain, is sleep apnea genetic, too? Keep reading this blog to learn more!

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Since sleep apnea episodes occur when you’re sleeping, it can be hard to conclude if you have it. Look out for the following symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • 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

How Sleep Apnea is Connected to Genetics

Central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea are the two common types of sleep apnea disorder. While central sleep apnea is not associated with genetics, obstructive sleep apnea has well-founded links to genes. The reason for the lack of relation between central sleep apnea and genes might be due to the fact that it results from non-genetic causes. Still, it does affect other parts of our body and is often related to brain tumors, heart conditions, strokes, drug usage, and more. On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea is hereditary due to the several proven connections it has with genes — a particular one is that it has roots in genetics. It is not only health conditions but specific genes that might be responsible for OSA. The following list of genes has been found to be related to the occurrence of sleep apnea:

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

The list of genes is not where it ends, though; anatomical features play a major role in the development of sleep apnea. Hence, a narrow jaw or throat, enlarged tonsils, large tongue, small chin, and more. So, in simple terms, sleep apnea might be genetic since these anatomical features or the associated health conditions run in families.

Risk Factors

If anyone in your family or extended family has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is best to consult a specialist. With their help, you can avoid sleep apnea by following a personalized plan. In addition, you can expose your health history, each helping the doctor maneuver aware of possible risks. Although sleep apnea has a prominent link to genetics, the following risk factors also increase the possibility of this condition:

  • Diabetes
  • COPD
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Arrhythmia
  • Poor Diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Kidney disease

The Final Note

Sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea, has connections to genetics and might be hereditary. Champions Dental is here to help if you experience sleep apnea symptoms; just visit us at 13455 Cutten Rd. Suite 2G, Houston, TX 77069, for a proper diagnosis and examination. Dial (281) 866-0442 to get started!

Dr. Esteban Garza, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Esteban Garza, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Esteban Garza, a Texas native with roots in the Rio Grande Valley, boasts a diverse educational and professional background. After completing his Biology degree at Texas A&M, he transitioned from teaching to dentistry, earning his DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Garza’s commitment to excellence for over 15 years, is evident through his extensive education in various dental specialities, culminating in prestigious accolades like the Fellowship Award in 2016 and the Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2020, achieved by less than 2% of dentists. 


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