Otolaryngology & Communication Sciences

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Medical Affects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease including hypertension, cardiac dysrhythmias, stroke, and myocardial infarction are associated with sleep apnea and snoring.

Obesity, smoking, and alcohol use also alter cardiovascular risk.  The association of snoring and cardiovascular disease is uncertain.

Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents is associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome.  Crash rates may be increased up to 7 times that of the general population.  Impairment in the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome has been demonstrated with driving simulator tests and improves with successful surgical or medical treatment.

Death rates may be increased in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome.  The most significant risk appears to be related to increased cardiovascular disease or stroke.  An apnea index of greater than 20 apneas per hour has been associated with increased risk of death.


© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/10/2014