How do you diagnose sleep apnea?

You have probably heard of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Worldwide over 100 million individuals suffer from it. This occurs when the airway collapses at nighttime and the individual stops breathing. This puts stress on the heart and body and can increase risk for heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and shortened life span.

Untreated sleep apnea is hazardous to your health so it is important to know how you can find out if you have this disease.

Risk factors for OSA include:

  • Obesity
  • Neck circumference (>16 inches for women, >17 inches for male)
  • Male
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Older age
  • Nasal congestion
  • Alcohol or tobacco use

You should also consider assessment if you have these symptoms:

  • Extreme daytime fatigue
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings
  • Bed Partner witnesses episodes of cessation of breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Loud snoring

A healthcare provider can assess your history and risk factors for sleep apnea. If there is suspicion for sleep apnea a home sleep test may be arranged.

What is a home sleep test?

  • A simple test done in your own bed to determine if you have OSA. Generally you only have to wear the sleep test for one night.
  • The patient wears:
    • A chest strap to track respirations (breathing rate and effort)
    • A nasal cannula to track nasal air flow
    • A finger pulse oximeter to track oxygen levels and heart rate
    • Body position monitor and movement tracker

What information can you get from a sleep study?

  • The degree of sleep apnea – Mild, moderate, or severe
  • Type of sleep apnea: Central (from the brain), Obstructive, or Mixed
  • The sleep positions the sleep apnea event occurs
  • Oxygen saturation levels
  • Heart rate
  • Snoring

Based on the results, a treatment plan will be created for you. At Sinus and Snoring Specialists, our goal is to help you understand your causes for sleep apnea and treat these underlying causes.

The top 5 causes of OSA are:

  1. nasal obstruction
  2. large tongue
  3. large tonsils
  4. long uvula/collapsing soft palate
  5. weight gain

Therefore, a thorough assessment of your airway is often performed including diagnostics such as sinus CT and nasal endoscopy.

Treatments may include improving your nasal airway (sometimes with nasal procedures), oral appliance, CPAP, Inspire procedure, weight loss, and more.

If you or your loved one is suffering from OSA or are concerned you may have it, have an assessment at our clinic.

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Posted in: Sleep Apnea

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