Otolaryngology & Communication Sciences

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Genetic Association in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

A genetic contribution to the sleep apnea is likely.  The risk of sleep disordered breathing is much higher in family groups than unrelated individuals.  Increased risk may be traced to familial facial form, soft tissue, and neurologic factors.

Abnormalities in bone structure of the face may rarely occur in "named" syndromes.  More commonly, bone abnormalities are associated with less development of facial bones.  Obesity, sex, and race may also affect obstructive sleep apnea.

No gene for sleep apnea is known yet.  Different types of genes may increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.  Some genes likely control the growth of the type of muscles in the throat.

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