Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. An increase in prevalent cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., obesity, hypertension and diabetes) has led to a concerted effort to raise awareness of the need to use evidence-based strategies to help patients at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and to reduce their likelihood of suffering a stroke. Sleep apnea has emerged as an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Epidemiologic and clinical evidence has prompted the American Heart Association to issue a scientific statement describing the need to recognize sleep apnea as an important target for therapy in reducing cardiovascular disease risks. This article examines evidence supporting associations of sleep apnea with cardiovascular disease and considers evidence suggesting cardiovascular risk reductions through sleep apnea treatment. Perspectives on emerging therapeutic approaches and promising areas of clinical and experimental research are also discussed.