What about related diseases?
Sleep apnea often results in a wide range of associated diseases (co-morbidities).
Sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for heart disease. The combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation makes it difficult to control blood pressure, and can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
- Hypertension(1): if you have OSA, you are more likely to have high blood pressure. Bear in mind that 30% of hypertensive people have OSA and 50% of people suffering from OSA have hypertension.
- Cardiovascular disease(1): OSA can lead to problems with the rhythm of your heart and can induce an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and slow heart rate (bradycardia).
- Heart attack(1): sleep apnea may lead to coronary heart disease can result in a heart attack. If OSA is left untreated, the risk of having a heart attack is doubled. Did you know that 70% of patients admitted to hospital for coronary artery disease were found to have sleep apnea?
- Stroke(2): OSA is connected with an increased risk of stroke in middle-aged and older adults, especially men.
- Type 2 diabetes(3): medical research has confirmed the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. 40% of people with OSA have type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea is also associated with impaired quality of life, poor performance in everyday activities (cognitive functioning, work) and an increased risk of car accidents due to drowsy driving(4).
(1) Patient information series - Sleep mini series #4, Obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease, American Thoracic society
(2) Logan et al. High prevalence of unrecognized sleep apnoea in drug-resistant hypertension. J. Hypertension. 2001
(3) Einhorn et al. Prevalence of Sleep Apnea in a Population of Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Endocr. Pract. 2007; 13(4):355-362
(4) Cowan D.C. et al., Predicting sleep disordered breathing in outpatients with suspected OSA, BMJ Open 2014; 4(4): e004519