Health Risks of Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Health Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Untreated OSA can cause a range of problems, from lifestyle interference to potentially life-threatening conditions. Sometimes people who have OSA don’t recognize their symptoms, simply because the symptoms have slowly worsened over months or years rather than appearing suddenly.  Low oxygen levels and sleep deprivation can lead to:

High Blood Pressure

Heart Attack


Sexual Dysfunction

Daytime Sleepiness

Accidental Death

Reduced Quality of Life



Daytime sleepiness is a very important problem. Affected people who operate heavy or delicate equipment, or even just drive a vehicle, can suddenly fall asleep and cause serious accidents with disastrous results. Ontario road accidents are caused every day by sober drivers who didn’t intend to doze off when they got behind the wheel. Of those who survive, many are found to be sleep-deprived due to untreated OSA.

Treatment for OSA is highly successful in reducing sleepiness and risk of accidents. It is extremely important to recognize the signs of sleepiness, to realize that it can be caused by OSA, and to seek help before an accident occurs.

High blood pressure can be both caused and worsened by OSA’s nightly disruptions of oxygen levels and other body functions. High blood pressure, in turn, is related to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other serious medical problems. Heart function can be affected by OSA as oxygen-poor blood is pumped through the heart and the rest of the body. The combination of untreated OSA and heart disease is a serious medical risk.

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