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Sleep Apnea Complications - Topic Overview

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.

Recommended Related to Sleep Apnea

Living With Sleep Apnea

When Dave Williams fell asleep while stopped at a red light 12 years ago, he had to face up to a problem. "I was falling asleep at inappropriate times," says Williams, then 45, a business consultant in Cordova, Tenn. His doctor diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which breathing pauses repeatedly during sleep, and symptoms include loud snoring at night and sleepiness during the day. "People who have sleep apnea typically don't have any problems with their breathing while they're...

Read the Living With Sleep Apnea article > >

People with sleep apnea also may be more likely to get in a car accident due to sleepiness while driving.5

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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