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Sleep apnea and genetics
#1
Sleep apnea and genetics
My son, mother, and brother have sleep apnea. I've often wondered if I might have sleep apnea because I snore, but otherwise I'm not symptomatic. I have no daytime sleepiness and wake most mornings feeling well rested. I've discussed my family history of sleep apnea with my doctor, but it did not seem to concern her. My doctor also gave me the impression that like many she has an erroneous belief that only obese, old men have sleep apnea; as a 44 year old 115 pound female I don't fit into that stereotype. 
Last night my son had a titration study and since he is a minor I had to sleep in his sleep study room. I was surprised this morning when sleep tech told me that she heard me snoring all night and she recommends that I convince my doctor to order a sleep study for me. 

If a person is not symptomatic is a family history of sleep apnea enough for a doctor to justify ordering a sleep study? How significant of a risk factor is a family history of sleep apnea? Is genetics and sleep apnea an area that has much research done on it?
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#2
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
IMHO it is the Sleep Tech's observation that is the strongest evidence.
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#3
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
To the extent that your physical makeup is due to genetics - narrowness of nose, throat, bronchus, plus how well your brain works with the response to low oxygen ( aka hypoxia) or excess carbon monoxide, it would make sense that those gene expressions might impact your sleep breathing.

Add in environmental factors, though, to account for infections, allergies, obesity, medications, and so on, to modify the base physical makeup.
                                                                                                                          
Note: I'm an epidemiologist, not a medical provider. 
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#4
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
Both of my parents have apnea, both snored (loudly) for as long as I can remember untill diagnosed. My bother has never been checked. I will say, untill just recently I had almost no overt symptoms. I have never really snored unless I was sick. I'm overweight, but otherwise healthy. I've been waking up fogged for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't untill I started waking up with a headache last year that I realized there was a problem. When my doctor was asking me questions she considered the fact that both of my parents have apnea to be a signifigant item.
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#5
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
(02-21-2019, 12:50 PM)ColoradoMom Wrote: If a person is not symptomatic is a family history of sleep apnea enough for a doctor to justify ordering a sleep study? 

You snore. That's a symptom. That complaint alone should get you a referral to a ENT who would likely order a sleep study. If the study reveals that you don't have sleep apnea that doctor may be able to do a somnoplasty to treat the snoring.

If you go to a doctor who specializes in CPAP therapy they will have you answer a series of questions. You may be able to find a questionnaire on the web.

I waited until I was 56 to get diagnosed. I wish I would have done it at age 44.

You could strap on a CPAP machine that automatically adjusts the pressure. It will give you some data that might be conclusive. For example, if the data showed numerous obstructions or flow limitations and a corresponding rise in pressure, that would be pretty conclusive evidence that you have obstructive sleep apnea. Always best to get a proper sleep study, though, as they can detect other problems or complications.
Sleepster
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#6
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
(02-21-2019, 12:50 PM)ColoradoMom Wrote: My son, mother, and brother have sleep apnea. I've often wondered if I might have sleep apnea because I snore, but otherwise I'm not symptomatic...

If a person is not symptomatic is a family history of sleep apnea enough for a doctor to justify ordering a sleep study? How significant of a risk factor is a family history of sleep apnea? Is genetics and sleep apnea an area that has much research done on it?

I was asymptomatic.  I ran 10 km or cycled in hills several times each week.  I didn't sleep long, but my sleep was what I felt was very good, near 6 hours each night.  I had no irritability, not headaches, no daytime sleepiness, NEVER napped....ever.   No cognitive deficiency, although SWMBO would beg to differ.

Then, with about 2 km to go in a 10 km run, I began to chug up a hill and found that my energy level fell sharply suddenly.  It was like I was in a fog.  Long story short, after a second incident six weeks later, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the paroxysmal kind.  Why?!?!?  I went through many diagnostics and nothing turned up.  The last Hail Mary was to submit to the sleep lab over night.  Bingo.  "Severe apnea."  Then I recalled that when I visited my daughter and her hubby at their cabin for a fishing trip three months earlier, she said I sounded like a coffee grinder most of the night.  Cardiologist took one look at the PS results and quipped, "Well, I guess we know now why you have atrial fibrillation!"

Apnea is silent.  It goes with snoring and other overt signs that signal its presence.

I have since learned that my younger brother was on PAP therapy for two year prior to my own diagnosis, and my 89 year old dad is now two months into his own therapy at my insistence. I'd say, yes, there is a very strong genetic component.
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#7
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
Make no mistake, sooner or later time will come when it's gonna hit you hard. Why not be proactive and hit it before it hits you and get the treatment started now? You'd be better off doing that then waiting till that magical moment when your body hits the limit and crashes.
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#8
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
(02-22-2019, 01:49 AM)Sleepster Wrote: If you go to a doctor who specializes in CPAP therapy they will have you answer a series of questions. You may be able to find a questionnaire on the web.

The good old Epworth questionnaire. I see that it's available here on AB:

http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php..._%28ESS%29

That page points to one version of the questionnaire itself:

http://www.apneaboard.com/quiz.htm
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#9
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
The sleep tech may be drumming up some business, The Tech never said he heard you stop to breathing.
However, if it worries you get a sleep test done.
Your doctor is a bit of an idiot, yes you do not fit the stereo type, but I know a lot of others that have Sleep Apnea that don't and a few are women.
Genes can have a lot to do with it, that is one of the first things the Professor asked when I was diagnosed.  Did anyone else have it in the family?
I didn't know, but when I think about it my mother did breathe funny when she slept and on rare occasions when the door was slightly ajar I could have sworn she stopped breathing.  She didn't have the energy she should have had and later in life she went on to develop alzheimer's which was not a good thing to watch.  It was a strange one nd asking the doctor what link OSA might have had he said there is a small chance that over the years it may have affected the brain as it was the frontal lobe that was affected the most.  However, as there had been no research done on this to his knowledge he could not be certain about this.  But he did say it could be a possibility that it might well have had an effect over a long time!
So if in doubt, get a test done.
I am NOT a doctor.  I try to help, but do not take what I say as medical advice.


Every journey, however large or small starts with the first step.

Sleep-well
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#10
RE: Sleep apnea and genetics
You might get some idea by looking in your throat.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallampati_score
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