Sleep apnea screening
To determine if you have sleep apnea, your doctor may first perform an evaluation based on your symptoms and medical history. You will then be referred to a sleep clinic, like Dorma Lab. Our sleep specialists can help you determine if you need further evaluation. A sleep evaluation often involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions during sleep.
Should I consult a doctor for sleep apnea ?
For example, untreated sleep apnea is correlated to increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. The frequent pauses in breathing during sleep interfere with the ability to reach the deep stages of sleep (restorative sleep), causing possible daytime fatigue. The physiological and psychological impacts of this sleep disorder are significant and need to be considered.
During this test, you are monitored by a machine that tracks your heart, lungs and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements as well as blood oxygen levels while you sleep. This sleep test is completed at a sleep clinic lab.
At-home tests to diagnose sleep apnea can be provided by our doctors. These tests measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing rate.
If the results of your home sleep test are abnormal, your sleep specialist may prescribe a sleep therapy without further examination. However, not all portable monitors detect sleep apnea, so your doctor may still recommend polysomnography even if your initial results are normal.
If the sleep test indicates that you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may refer you to an ENT specialist to exclude nasal or throat obstruction. An evaluation by a cardiologist or neurologist may be necessary to determine the cause of central sleep apnea.
What are the signs that I may have sleep apnea?
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Fatigue during the day
- High blood pressure
- Breathing pauses noticed by your partner during your sleep
The severity of fatigue symptoms may not be exclusively related to the severity of sleep apnea. A diagnosis is therefore required in many cases before considering treatment for snoring or sleep apnea, whether medical or surgical.
Are there different levels of sleep apnea?
Absolutely, at Dorma we are able to measure the severity of sleep apnea. We use the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) to determine if the level of sleep apnea is mild, moderate or severe.
Planning your appointment
If you or your partner suspect that you may have sleep apnea, contact our clinic. Here is some information to help you prepare for the appointment.
What you can do
Once you book the appointment, ask if there is anything you need to do ahead, such as changing your diet or completing a sleep diary.
Make a list of:
- your symptoms, including those that may seem unrelated
- a family history of sleep disorders
- any medications, vitamins or supplements you take, including the dosing
For sleep apnea, here are some questions you can expect to discuss with your sleep specialist:
- What causes your symptoms?
- What tests do you need? Do these tests require special preparation?
- Is it temporary or long term condition?
- What treatments are available?
- What treatment would be best for me?
Your doctor may ask you questions such as:
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- How does your partner describe your symptoms?
- Do you stop breathing while you sleep? If so, how many times a night?
- Is there anything that has improved your symptoms?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse, such as sleeping position or alcohol use?
What you can do before your appointment:
- Try sleeping on your side.
- Avoid alcohol for four to six hours before bedtime.
- Don’t take medications that make you sleepy.
- If you are drowsy, avoid driving.