What are risks of not treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

When left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to safety as it increases the risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises the risk for serious health problems. These include:
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic acid reflux
  • erectile dysfunction
Severe, untreated sleep apnea even increases the risk of death. Treating OSA is incredibly important to a patient's health.

This content originally appeared on the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) website.
The risks of not treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and asthma. It can also make heart failure and arrhythmias more likely. People who have untreated OSA also tend to have daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Some people may think of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a minor health issue and decide not to use recommended treatments. But it is not a minor health issue. Untreated OSA increases the risk of developing serious health problems:
  • High blood pressure (people with OSA have up to 2 or 3 times the risk)
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Stroke
  • Increased risk of complications after surgery
  • Car accidents

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.