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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is sleep apnea hereditary?

    My dad has sleep apnea. Does that mean I am more prone to it?
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    The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a … View Profile

    The major contributors to obstructive sleep apnoea are upper airway anatomy and obesity.  Obesity can be partly due to hereditary factors  and partly lifestyle  factors.  Upper airway anatomy can definitely be inherited, for example asian people tend to have rather flat faces with small upper airways.  Many caucasians do not have flat faces, but have tongues that are too large for their mouths which may be due to obesity, but also may be simply genetically determined, therefore inherited.  It is sometimes hard to know how much of the sleep apnoea is inherited and how much is due to shared patterns of eating and exercise etc,  that were learned from the parents. For more information on sleep apnoea click here.

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