Health Risks if Sleep Apnea is Left Untreated

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When it comes to snoring, it can cause both you and your partner a bad night sleep. However, if the snoring is due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it can be an sign of a much bigger issue.

OSA can also raise your risk of other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, when left untreated. It can also make you doze off while driving. The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable and when treated, can help alleviate some of the following health conditions.

Complications of Sleep Apnea

Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure

OSA increases your risk of heart disease. Patients who have OSA are three time more likely to have heart disease. With each apnea event your body tells your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to go up. Severe obstructive sleep apnea can also cause stress on your heart causing the heart to get enlarged. An enlarged heart can cause the heart to get less oxygen and work less efficiently.

congestive heart failure and sleep apnea


High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

You are at an increased risk of getting hypertension (high blood pressure) if you have sleep apnea. Plus, if you already have high blood pressure, OSA can worsen it. Your body becomes stressed when you wake frequently during the night causing your hormone systems to work extra hard. The increase in blood pressure is caused by falling oxygen levels alerting the brain to sends signals through the nervous system telling the blood vessels to constrict in order to increase the flow of oxygen to the heart and the brain.

Sleep Apnea and Heart


Heart Attack

There is also evidence that OSA can lead to angina pectoris (blocked blood vessels to heart that leads to chest pain) and future heart attacks.

Hypertension and Sleep Apnea



Another study which was published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that patients are also at an increased risk of stroke when you have sleep apnea. Also, patients are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without OSA.

Afib Nugent Apnea


Excess Weight

When you put on extra weight, this can also increase your risk of sleep apnea. Your neck forms fatty deposits which can block your breathing during the night. Furthermore, your body may release more of the ghrelin hormone when you have sleep apnea which causes you to crave more sweets and carbs.

Sleep Apnea and Obesity


Type 2 Diabetes

People with Type 2 Diabetes often suffer with sleep apnea as well. Sleep apnea can also increase blood sugar levels because of the stress associated with chronic sleep deprivation and abrupt awakenings in the night. When you get stressed, your body releases stress hormones that release stored glucose. Over time, this increase in blood sugar levels can contribute to insulin resistance.

apnea and diabetes

Premature Death

There have even been several studies linking OSA with premature death. This risk is increased in middle-aged men who are more prone to getting cardiovascular disease.

Other Possible Health Complications

OSA has also been shown to be linked to other health conditions like depression, headaches, daytime sleepiness and asthma. It’s even been shown to increase your risk of car accidents because of drowsy driving.

sleep apnea complications

Let our office help you try to manage your sleep apnea. Call our office today.