Left undiagnosed, sleep apnea can be devastating. Not only does your quality of life deteriorate through sleep deprivation, driving many into a cycle of depression and weight gain. It can also lead to sexual dysfunction in men (inability to gain an erection).
Sleep Apnea also leads to serious health conditions such as:
High Blood Pressure: If you already have it, sleep apnea can make it worse. When you wake up often during the night, your body gets stressed. That makes your hormone systems go into overdrive, which boosts your blood pressure levels. Also, the level of oxygen in your blood drops when you can’t breathe well, which may add to the problem. Treatment can help.
Heart Disease: People with OSA are more likely to have heart attacks. The causes may be low oxygen or the stress of waking up often. Strokes and atrial fibrillation -- a fast, fluttering heartbeat -- are also linked with the condition. Sleep apnea disrupts how your body takes in oxygen, which makes it hard for your brain to control how blood flows in your arteries and the brain itself.
Car accidents: When you feel groggy, you raise your risk of falling asleep at the wheel. People with sleep apnea are up to five times more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents.