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Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing during sleep. When you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood go down and carbon dioxide levels go up. This makes your heart and blood vessels work harder and can affect your heart rate and nervous system. This can lead to complications over time, such as:
Sleep apnea can cause some of these conditions to progress more quickly and be more difficult to treat. Treating sleep apnea may help make some of these conditions less severe.
People with sleep apnea also may be more likely to get in a car accident due to sleepiness while driving.5
- Wolf J, et al. (2007). Obstructive sleep apnea: An update on mechanisms and cardiovascular consequences. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 17(3): 233–240.
- Guilleminault C, Abad VC (2004). Obstructive sleep apnea syndromes. Medical Clinics of North America, 88(3): 611–630.
- Kasai T, Bradley TD (2011). Obstructive sleep apnea and heart failure. Pathophysiologic and therapeutic implications. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 57(2): 119–127.
- Pien GW, Pack AI (2010). Sleep-disordered breathing. In RJ Mason et al., eds., Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine, 5th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1881–1913. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- George CFP (2004). Sleep 5: Driving and automobile crashes in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome. Thorax, 59(9): 804–807.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 25, 2013|
Last Revised: June 25, 2013
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