How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a sleeping person stops breathing several times throughout the night. It can be very dangerous and lead to long-term complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. One of the most recognizable signs of sleep apnea is snoring. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, it is important to have it diagnosed and treated to prevent additional health complications.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Besides disruptive snoring, other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Sleeping through the night, yet waking up feeling extremely tired
- Daytime confusion or sleepiness
- Inability to stay awake during the day
- Gasping or choking during the night
You may also wake up several times throughout the night or feel incapable of getting a good night’s sleep. Often, people with sleep apnea will wake up with an extremely dry mouth or sore throat, have a headache, or feel extremely irritable.
What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Sleep Apnea
Your physician will evaluate your symptoms and recommend a sleep study to determine whether you have sleep apnea. A sleep study is an overnight evaluation in which your heart rate, oxygen levels, body movements, and brain activity are monitored. The lab technician will be monitoring you for how many times you stop breathing throughout the night as well as how many times you wake up. Data will be collected on your heart, brain, and breathing to determine not only whether you have sleep apnea but to pinpoint what type. There are three main types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airway is obstructed by the tissue of the soft palate; central sleep apnea, in which the brain “forgets” to tell you to breathe, and mixed sleep apnea, in which the person has elements of both obstructive and sleep apnea.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
There are a range of treatments for sleep apnea, from lifestyle changes to CPAP machines to oral appliances. Rarely, surgery is required to remove or shrink tissue that is blocking the airway. But most often the patient responds to a less invasive treatment.
If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important to see a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine in order to properly diagnose and treat your condition. Dr. Malhotra is a board-certified sleep specialist in CT, who is known for diagnosing and treating all kinds of sleep disorders. Call (203) 422-7940 today, or schedule an appointment using this form.