Is sleep apnea hereditary?

Research has shown that family history is a possible indicator of obstructive sleep apnea.

It's a very good question and the answer is a definite maybe.

To what extent do family members and their sleeping problems have a bearing on your own risk of developing sleep apnea?

In other words – in the same way that you may look like your relatives, there's a chance that you may also share similar facial structures which may make you more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.

If you have a family member with obstructive sleep apnea, hopefully they’re actively seeking treatment through one of the many solutions available.

It's all backed up by research, which has found that family history is an indicator of the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea, with 25% to 40% of people who have it also having family members who have the condition.1

But if there's any possibility that you might have obstructive sleep apnea or have the potential to develop it, you'll definitely want to know – as obstructive sleep apnea can be dangerous to your health and well-being if left untreated.

As obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage to the airways, physical traits that you may share with your family members such as your face and skull shape may also contribute to your risk of having it.

If you do have obstructive sleep apnea, effective treatment can make a big difference to the quality of your sleep and your waking life.

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  1. accessed 4 July 2019.