Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often coexist. OSA has been linked to cardiovascular disease. Thus, OSA may contribute to the cardiovascular consequences of obesity. In this review, we explore clinical and pathophysiological interactions between obesity, cardiovascular disease and OSA. We discuss the mechanisms whereby OSA may contribute to hypertension, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and atrial fibrillation associated with obesity, and emphasize the potential implications for understanding why only a subgroup of obese patients develop cardiovascular disease. Identification of the OSA-dependent and OSA-independent pathways in the cardiovascular pathophysiology of obesity may hold clinical and therapeutic promise.