On Everyday Health, one doctor writes about the links between sleep apnea and cardiovascular problems.

The link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease has been studied for several years. In 2013 it was announced that this link even includes the possibility of heart attacks related to obstructive sleep apnea. The head of a long-term study, Apoor Gami, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Midwest Heart Specialists-Advocate Medical Group in Elmhurst, Ill., notes, “The presence and severity of sleep apnea are associated with a significantly increased risk of sudden cardiac death.”

There are a number of causes behind this association. Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing several times a night. When this happens, your blood oxygen levels go down, which can cause your heart rhythm to flutter. This is a heart complication that also occurs at the time of sudden cardiac death.