Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke, according to WebMD. The condition, which disrupts the breathing during sleep, affects more men, people over age 40 and overweight individuals.
Indicators of sleep apnea problems include loud snoring and feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep, according to Mayo Clinic. The primary types of this condition include primary sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Primary sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form and occurs when the muscles of the throat relax, allowing the airway to collapse and block breathing.
Sleep apnea causes the oxygen levels in the blood to drop, reports Mayo Clinic. The more severe one’s obstructive sleep apnea the greater his chances of developing high blood pressure. However, even if the person does not have sleep apnea-related hypertension, the condition increases his chance of stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea also increases the risk of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Primary sleep apnea is often the result of heart disease and not the cause of it.
Sleep apnea also causes complications during surgery, indicates Mayo Clinic. It affects liver function. Because of the loud snoring of sleep apnea, the condition often causes the partner of the sleep apnea patient to suffer sleep deprivation.