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Health Conditions Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (Co Morbidities)

A good night’s sleep may well be a luxury that people suffering from obstructive sleeping apnoea (OSA) cannot afford. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a sleep-related, breathing disorder which is demonstrated by recurring obstructions of the upper airway.

Co Morbidity Explained

Obstructive sleeping apnoea is not just “snoring” while sleeping. It is deemed as a serious condition as co morbidities of OSA are possible. Co morbidity refers to a medical condition that is simultaneously yet independently occurs with another medical condition. It can also be used to point out a related medical condition or conditions. Co morbidity may also refer to interactions between the illnesses that could affect the prognosis and course of the diseases.

CPAP_healthStudies on OSA Co Morbidities

According to,,  recent medical literature and studies done by independent entities concluded that people with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnoea are more likely to develop co-morbidity in cardiac, immunologic, neurologic and metabolic functions. In the United States, there is evidence that 75% of stroke patients and diabetics, and one-third of patients diagnosed with heart disease have sleeping disorder.

Studies done by Australia-based Sleep Health Foundation Organization indicate that patients with OSA are more at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and depression. There are indications that people with untreated OSA are  more likely to get involved in vehicular accidents and incidents in the workplace.

Studies also show that children with OSA are more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which is characterized by behavioral problems, over-activity and inattention which could also lead to learning and emotional problems.

Possible Co-occurring illnesses with OSA

Medical consequences of untreated sleep apnoea have been observed and documented in various medical literatures over the past years. These illnesses may or may not be a consequence of OSA as the sleeping disorder could be a symptom of the pertaining health condition. A short list of co morbidities of OSA includes: diabetes (type 2), depression, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, adult asthma, liver problems and acid reflux.

Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, congestive heart failure, heart valve problems and arrhythmia. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions wherein high blood sugar level, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and excess body fat around the waist are manifested. These symptoms increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Medical researchers have concluded that 70% of patients with OSA have systemic hypertension and that OSA increases by 27% the development of coronary artery disease. Patients with OSA are 3 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. OSA may also be a symptom of an undiagnosed auto-immune disease.

Other Consequences of Untreated OSA

Untreated OSA is also responsible for low job performance and productivity in adults and poor academic performance in children. There are studies that highlighted the relationship between increased risk of motor vehicle accidents (MVA) and obstructive sleep apnoea.

According to Austroads:
• People with OSA are two to seven times more prone to MVA
• OSA impairs a person’s driving performance
• People with severe OSA have a higher incidence of MVA than those with mild to moderate OSA


Mild OSA may be corrected through behavioral modifications such as proper sleeping position, weight loss, and avoidance of sedatives and alcohol. What about for those with moderate to severe OSA?
An effective and non-invasive treatment option for patients with different levels of OSA gravity is the use of continues positive airway pressure or CPAP. The patient is required to wear a facial or nasal mask during sleep as the CPAP acts as a pneumatic stent to ensure a clear airway path.

CPAP Victoria can help you with OSA. We have the expertise to diagnose and offer advice and treatment for your sleeping disorder.

Give us a call on 1300 750 006 or pop into one of our CPAP clinics Victoria – we are conveniently located in Melbourne, Wantirna and Frankston.

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