Is Sleep Apnea Genetic?

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Fair Oaks, CA

Many people have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes trouble breathing while sleeping. Having sleep apnea can increase a person’s risk for other health problems like heart attack or stroke. People are often curious about whether or not they will have sleep apnea or not, and if genetics play a role. 

Do Genetics Play A Role?

There have been genetic factors that can contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a type of sleep apnea that causes lapses in breathing by physical airway blockages. 

Studies have shown that people face a greater risk of of developing OSA when they have a close family member with the same disorder. Below are some possible ways genetics can predispose a person to OSA: 

Body Fat Amount and Distribution

Genes impact body weight which influences whether or not a person develops OSA. People who are obese are 10 times more likely to have OSA.

Face Anatomy 

Genes can also affect the way a person’s face and skull is shaped. This includes nose width, nose length, placement of the jaw and other bones, and how wide the airway is and how easily it can become blocked. 

Breathing Control

Experts suggest that genetics could influence the muscles and neural signal involved in breathing. How different people breathes can influence their likelihood of developing sleep apnea. 

Sleep and Circadian Rhythm

People’s genes influence their sleep patterns and schedule, and how well they sleep. 


Even though researchers have been studying the genetics of sleep apnea for over 20 years, there is still very little known about the specific genes associated with sleep-disordered breathing. To learn more about sleep apnea, use the button below or call our office at 916-961-8454.

Learn More About Sleep Apnea at Orcutt Family Dentistry

Orcutt Family Dentistry

7840 Madison Avenue #185
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
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