Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome involves recurring episodes of total obstruction (apnea) or partial obstruction (hypopnea) of airways during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome affects mainly obese individuals and it is defined by an apnea-hypopnea index of five or more episodes per hour associated with daytime somnolence. In addition to anatomical factors and neuromuscular and genetic factors, sleep disorders are also involved in the pathogenesis of sleep apnea. Obesity affects upper airway anatomy because of fat deposition and metabolic activity of adipose tissue. Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome and metabolic syndrome have several characteristics such as visceral obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance. Inflammatory cytokines might be related to the pathogenesis of sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome. Sleep apnea treatment includes obesity treatment, use of equipment such as continuous positive airway pressure, drug therapy and surgical procedures in selected patients. Currently, there is no specific drug therapy available with proven efficacy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome. Body-weight reduction results in improvement of sleep apnea, and obesity treatment must be emphasized, including lifestyle changes, anti-obesity drugs and bariatric surgery.