Health consequences of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or obstructive snoring is a common condition. Men are more likely than women to have sleep apnea. Although the condition can occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. A family history of sleep apnea also increases your risk for the condition. People who have small airways in their noses, throats, or mouths are more likely to have sleep apnea. Small airways might be due to the shape of these structures or allergies or other conditions that cause congestion.

The Harvard Medical School warns about the health consequences that OSA can have.

(1) Hypertension: OSA is a risk factor for the development of hypertension and elevated blood pressure might be the only clue that a person has OSA

(2) Heart Disease: Evidence indicates that OSA might be a risk factor for future heart attacks or angina pectoris (chest pain related to blockage of blood vessels supplying the heart), and middle-aged men might be at particular risk.

(3) Stroke: Having a stroke can be a devastating event, with the potential for severe disability or death. OSA might be a risk factor for having a stroke and recovery after a stroke might be delayed in people with OSA.

(4) Diabetes Mellitus: Research indicates that blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher among people with OSA. However, it appears that treatment of OSA may improve blood sugar levels.

(5) Premature Death: Because OSA is associated with a number of chronic medical conditions, not surprisingly, several studies have shown an association between OSA and increased likelihood of premature death....