Sleep Apnea Diagnosis – How do Doctors Diagnose?

You may have sleep apnea if you’re always tired and napping during the day, have regular morning headaches, or relatives and friends have informed you that you snore excessively and utter gasping noises when sleeping.

Other typical sleep apnea symptoms are getting up with a dry mouth, experiencing difficulty concentrating and paying attention throughout the day, and being irritated.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you must get it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to long-term health concerns and present more immediate dangers to you, your dear ones, and others.

Over 100 million Americans have trouble sleeping. According to statistics, about 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea, while only 3 million of them have been diagnosed. The risk of not getting a correct diagnosis and treatment is demonstrated by the number of people who die each year as a result of sleep apnea problems.

However, how can a doctor tell if you have sleep apnea?

We discuss the diagnostic tests and evaluations carried out by your doctor or a sleep specialist to determine whether you have sleep apnea or not.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis: Medical and Family History

You’ll be asked a series of questions about how well you operate during the day and how sound you stay asleep during your doctor’s appointment.

Also, because the doctor would need to know when and how heavily you snore and how frequently you make gasping or choking sounds while sleeping, you should bring your spouse or family member to this visit (or bring their written statement with you). Again, you need their input as you won’t be aware of these things.

The doctor would also need to know whether any other members of the family have ever been diagnosed with sleep apnea or have had sleep apnea symptoms.

If you think your kid has Sleep Apnea, talk to your doctor about it.

How Will The Primary Care Doctor Know A Person Has Sleep Apnea?

How Will The Primary Care Doctor Know A Person Has Sleep Apnea?

Many people have sleep apnea without even recognizing it. Sleep apnea does not affect everyone.

Sleep apnea can cause the following symptoms:

  • Sleeping with breathing interruptions, gasping, or snoring
  • You wake up weary, even after a full night’s rest
  • Morning headache
  • Daytime sleepiness or exhaustion
  • Need to nap repeatedly
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Short-tempered or grumpy

According to statistics, if you do not get treatment for sleep apnea, you may face:

  • Sleepiness and weariness during the day
  • Poor work performance and cognitive impairment
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Traffic Collisions

Before taking any sleep drugs, you should get your nocturnal breathing pattern assessed. Many sleep drugs might lower your respiratory drive, making breathing problems worse. Taking sleep drugs without first seeing a sleep specialist could be harmful to your health.

Sleep Study

Sleep Study

A sleep study is a set of tests used to assess the quality of sleep and how the body reacts to sleep disturbances. These results will help your physician establish if you have a sleep issue and how severe it is. Sleep studies provide the most reliable diagnosis of Sleep Apnea.

If your doctor doubts you may have sleep apnea, you can undergo a polysomnogram or a home sleep test (HST). There are two types of sleep studies available.


This is the most popular form of sleep study used to diagnose Sleep Apnea properly. Movements of the eye, brain function, blood pressure, and heart rate are all noted. It also captures the quantity of oxygen in the bloodstream, chest movements, and snoring when you breathe. The chest motions are important since they show whether or not you’re trying to breathe.

Sleep studies are carried out at sleep laboratories or sleep centers. It’s a painless test: you simply go to sleep as usual, with sensors connected to your face, head, limbs, chest, and a fingertip. Then, experts at the sleep facility utilize the sensors to monitor your progress throughout the night.

A sleep specialist will analyze your data after the sleep study is done to establish if you have Sleep Apnea and how serious it is. Then, your therapy will be based on the findings of your sleep study.

A Polysomnogram can also be used to establish the ideal CPAP machine settings for you. CPAP stands for ‘continuous positive airway pressure,’ and these devices are the most prevalent type of Sleep Apnea treatment. While you sleep, the CPAP machine uses mild air pressure to keep your airways open.

A split-night sleep test is an option in which you sleep without using the CPAP machine for the first part of the night. Then, if it’s determined that you have Sleep Apnea and how severe it is, a CPAP machine will be utilized for the rest of the night. The airflow from the CPAP machine will then be adjusted by sleep center staff to establish the proper settings for a pleasant night’s sleep.

Following a Sleep Study

The professionals remove the sensors connected to your skin in the morning, and you resume your normal activities.

The sleep specialist needs some time to read over the study’s multiple pages of data. Then, your doctor will get the results. Once your doctor has examined the findings and recommended the next steps, you’ll meet to discuss them.

Home Sleep Test

Home Sleep Test

If sleep apnea is suspected, you may be offered a home sleep apnea test. This entails sleeping at home and wearing specialized equipment that records your breathing patterns while you sleep.

The gadget gathers data to help diagnose sleep apnea. You’ll be shown how to set up the device on your own.

During sleep, sensors in the at-home gadget will monitor your breathing, oxygen levels, and heart rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Duration of a Sleep Study?

In most sleep studies, the electrodes are usually applied shortly after your planned appointment time. It may take about 30 to 45 minutes to apply the electrodes.

The testing procedure usually happens in a separate room and lasts between 6 and 8 hours before night. The technician will keep an eye on your chamber from the halls throughout the night. There’s no hurry to sleep at a set time. Nevertheless, falling asleep as quickly as possible increases the amount of time spent sleeping.

Will The Test Hurt?

The test is painless and non-invasive. The sleep lab is nice and quiet, making it ideal for sleeping. However, the cables and electrodes may disturb some patients’ sleep. If you’re worried about falling asleep during the assessment, we suggest you should restrict your sleep the night before, by getting up earlier than you usually do.

Can I use a Sleep Aid?

While many people claim, “I’ll never fall asleep with all of that stuff on me!” The reality is that virtually everyone does fall asleep, though it takes longer than normal.

Will I Have a Pleasant Experience?

Items like a cushion or a blanket are usually permitted. Pagers and cell phones are often not permitted since they can mess with lab equipment, disturb the sleep study, and influence your test findings. You must switch off these gadgets during testing if you really must have them with you.

Many ENT clinics offer a refrigerator where a night snack might be delivered. Patients must alert the technician if they need to use the bathroom in between the study. They’ll disconnect either one or two central connections, allowing you to stand up and stroll to the restroom.

Sweatpants, pajamas, shorts, and a T-shirt are usual attire. You may also need to pack something to wear inside the common area if you ever need to stay for further testing the next day. Most sleep facilities do not allow sleeping naked.

What if I Require Assistance?

If you require 24-hour care, your carer may accompany you to a room with two beds. Many will make accommodations if your partner desires to join you at the sleep study center.

Can The Sleep Study be Done at Home?

In-home testing is available at several sleep centers. But, it only works in certain conditions. You can find out if home testing is right for you during your visit with a sleep specialist. When more information is required than just an in-home study can give, sleep professionals collaborate with you to help you make the best decision regarding your health.

How Will my Privacy be Safeguarded?

A digitally recorded video is typically included in sleep studies, allowing the Sleep Center specialist to directly watch sleep position, movements, breathing, and other sleep-related data. Sleep clinics require written consent to conduct the sleep test and record video. Your information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

What is The Procedure for Receiving The Outcome of my Sleep Study?

To reach a diagnosis, a sleep center specialist will examine your sleep data as well as your clinical history. The technician who is monitoring your sleep study is unable to speak with you about the results. A final report will be sent to your physician within a week once the sleep center physician has reviewed and interpreted the research.

Wrapping Up

A sleep test recommended by your physician is the most frequent technique for diagnosing sleep apnea. The test can be performed at a sleep lab overnight or at home using a sleep test kit.

The sleep test is harmless and involves sleeping with numerous cables and sensors attached to your body, which might be unpleasant at first. It’s worth it in the end, though.

By gathering information while you sleep, your doctor will be able to determine if you have sleep apnea.

The doctor will look for things like how frequently you breathe, if you stop breathing and the heart and pulse rate, among other things, to see if you have sleep apnea. Apart from the results of your sleep study, your doctor will use your genetic history and symptoms to make a diagnosis.

Sleep apnea is highly dangerous if left untreated, so if you suspect you have it or know someone who does, consult your doctor to see if a sleep test is needed. This would not only address the issue as to whether or not you have the condition, but it will also allow you to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!

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