How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is diagnosed based on multiple factors, including medical status, family history, a physical examination and the results of a sleep study. If you are experiencing troubling sleep symptoms, the first step is usually to discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. After discussing your symptoms, as well as your general health, family history and other lifestyle factors, your physician may refer you to a sleep specialist for diagnostic testing. Any questions or concerns? Feel free to call New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions for a free consultation and they will ensure your testing will be completed with the help of a qualified sleep specialist.
You cannot diagnose yourself, your spouse or family member with sleep apnea. However, it’s a good idea to start by asking yourself the right questions:
- Do you snore loudly? (You might have to ask your spouse or a family member.)
- Do you feel excessively sleepy or fatigued during the day?
- Has anyone noticed you stop breathing while you sleep?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Is your body mass index (BMI) more than 35?
- Are you older than 50?
- Is the circumference of your neck greater than 15 inches?
- Are you male?
Answering yes to three or more of these questions means you are at an elevated risk of sleep apnea. You are strongly encouraged to discuss these risk factors with a professional. You could start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician; they can provide a referral to a sleep specialist for the next steps.
Keeping a sleep diary can be a smart tool to aid in the diagnostic process. Record your sleep patterns for a week or two. Note when you go to sleep and wake up, and include any naps. Describe how rested, alert or sleepy you feel at different times during the day. Bring your sleep diary to appointments with your physician or sleep specialist.
The Epworth Scale is also helpful to determine how sleepy you are during the day.
In contrast to feeling tired, are you likely to doze or fall asleep in the following situations?
0 = Never 1, = Slight Chance, 2 = Moderate Chance, 3 = Regularly
In order to confirm a diagnosis of sleep apnea, you will likely need to enroll in a sleep study with a sleep specialist. The specialist might be a pulmonologist, otolaryngologist, neurologist or another type of clinician that has special training in the treatment of sleep disorders.
Typically, a sleep study is conducted at home with a self-administered home sleep study, or in a sleep laboratory under the supervision of a team of sleep specialists. During the sleep test, special equipment will record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and blood pressure. The amount of oxygen in your blood, airflow through your nose, snoring and chest movements will also be measured. The sleep specialist team will evaluate the data collected while you sleep. They will pay close attention to the number of breathing cessations during your sleep to determine the presence and severity of your sleep apnea.
Have You Received a Diagnosis?
After a sleep specialist has determined you have sleep apnea, Dr. Ivan F. Stein and the team at New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions can explore your treatment options. Please contact us today at (855) WHY-SNORE or (855) 949-7667 to schedule an appointment.