Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized as recurrent episodes of obstruction in the upper airway during the period of sleep. The condition occurs in approximately 11% and 4% of middle-aged men and middle-aged women, respectively. Polysomnography is a diagnostic procedure that involves the constant observation of oxygen saturation and unsaturation during sleep. Usually, positive airway pressure is considered a benchmark treatment for OSA. This review summarizes the recent developments and emerging evidence from molecular biology-based research studies that show that genetic factors have an influence on OSA. The genetic aspects of OSA that have been identified include heritability and other phenotypic co-factors such as anatomical morphology. It also draws attention to the results of a polymorphic-based study that was conducted to determine the causative single nucleotide mutations associated with obesity and adverse cardiovascular risk in OSA. However, the role of such mutations and their linkage to OSA can not yet be established. Nonetheless, a large body of evidence supports a strong association between inflammatory cytokine polymorphism and obesity in the development of OSA. There are also probable intermediate factors with several gene-gene interactions. Therefore, advanced applications and modern techniques should be applied to facilitate new findings and to minimize the risk of developing OSA.
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