Some people think sleep apnea is not something should be taken seriously. But when you read these side effects of sleep apnea listed below, you may totally change your mind.

As you know, sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. People who have sleep apnea suffer from the interruption of breathing while sleeping which will lead to the lack of oxygen for your body and brain. Some people may not feel any uncomfortable at the beginning, however, the long-term side effects will appear over time.

Most sleep apneas are not diagnosed or treated. However, untreated sleep apnea consequences may be more horrible than you can possibly imagine.


Fatigue is the most common side effect of sleep apnea. The stop of breathing caused by sleep apnea will wake up our brain which means that our brain can’t get into the deep sleeping phase during the night. In this case, we still feel fatigue during the day even though we have slept for over 12 hours. Hence, if you always feel tired in the daytime, it is possible that you have sleep apnea.

2. Headaches

Headaches is one of the most obvious sleep apnea side effects. When you climbed a mountain with high attitude, you are likely to get a headache. It is because of the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea interrupts the progress of breathing so that our body and brain can’t get enough oxygen. Thus, if you wake up with a headache in the morning, it is quite possible that you have sleep apnea.


People with a depressive illness are 5 times more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than others. At the same time, 46% of people with sleep apnea have depression symptom. Plus, by using CPAP as treatment, depression can be significantly improved.

4.Acid reflux

The relationship between sleep apnea and acid reflux is quite complex. On the one hand, people who have acid reflux symptom always wake up and feel heartburn at night. On the other hand, sleep apnea will lead to the obstruction of the airway and the change of airway pressure will cause the reflux of acids.

5.Memory loss

Sleep disorder is related to memory loss. A recent study has shown that sleep-disordered breathing was associated with mild cognitive impairment at the early age. For example, you can’t remember the events happened recently and have to write down what you need to do because of the memory loss. Thus, if you feel that you can’t remember something recently. It might be because of sleep apnea other than aging problems.

6.Adult asthma

According to some research, adults with mild or severe asthma often feel hard to breathe while sleeping and are more likely to develop sleep apnea. In addition, the airway obstruction caused by sleep apnea will trigger the happen of inflammation and constriction of small airway which results in worsening asthma.

7.Liver problems

It is hard to connect liver problems especially fatty liver with sleep apnea previously, but recent studies will change people’s mind. One of the studies investigated 226 obese middle-aged men and women who have sleep apnea and found that two-thirds of them suffered from fatty liver. The same result also is been found in a study for children.

Researchers think the lack of oxygen generated by sleep apnea will cause inflammation in the liver. Although, a certain level of fat in the liver is not harmful but the inflammation can make the fat turn to scar tissue and lead to the liver failure in the end. This is one of the most horrible side effects of sleep apnea.

8.High Blood Pressure

Having a good rest is very important for controlling blood pressure. Arousals caused by sleep apnea will stress your body and brain which will break the balance of metabolic system and reduce the oxygen level of blood corpuscle. In the end, blood pressure becomes high which may cause other dangerous situations.

Besides, by using CPAP mask or other sleep apnea treatment, a lot of patients found an obvious reduction of blood pressure level. Therefore, treating sleep apnea is very important for curing high blood pressure.

9.High Cholesterol

OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is related to metabolic dysfunction such as high blood pressure mentioned above. It is also associated with the controlling of Cholesterol. One of the studies proven that OSA can play an important role in dyslipidemia among non-obese patients. Other research also concluded that using CPAP treatment over 6 months can help to lower overall cholesterol level.

Although the mechanism between cholesterol and sleep apnea is not very clean today, a lot of patients said their cholesterol is been well controlled by treating sleep apnea.

10. Stroke

Sleep apnea is not only the after effect of stroke, but the cause of stroke. Every time the breath interruption happened, our brain will work hard to open our airway and breathe again. However, there is not enough oxygen provided for our brain. When it happened again and again, our sympathetic nervous system will trigger hypertension and the fluctuations in heart rate.

Hypertension and atrial fibrillation are 2 main risk factors of stroke and stroke is easy to cause death. Thus, stroke is a horrible and fatal side effect of sleep apnea.

11.Heart Disease

The low oxygen level will affect the blood flow and the work of the brain. Sleep apnea interferes with how your body takes in oxygen which leads to the change of heart rate, high blood pressure, and heart attack.

12.Type 2 diabetes

Researchers have proved that people with OSA have 30% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people without OSA. You can tell from the side effects of sleep apnea we mentioned above that OSA can cause metabolic dysfunctions. These dysfunctions also include the abnormal rise of blood glucose levels due to the release of stress hormones.

Besides, doctors also found that treating sleep apnea can reduce insulin resistance and improve motivation that results in the stability of blood glucose.

13.Decreased Sexual Desire

Energy and mood are quite important for sex life. Fatigue and depression due to the sleep apnea will affect the relationship with your partner and a decreased sex-drive.

Moreover, OSA also decreases the level of testosterone. Because testosterone level starts to improve while sleeping and the bad quality of sleeping will certainly impact the production of testosterone which is an important factor for healthy libido.

In a nutshell, untreated sleep apnea can cause horrible consequences. Those side effects of sleep apnea not only affect your life quality but lead to death. Hence, if you are suffering from sleep apnea, please consult with your doctor and find yourself an effective treatment such as the mouthpiece and sleep apnea pillow we talked about before.

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