Sleep apnea has long been linked to an increased risk for several health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart failure. Recently added to this line-up is osteoporosis: Taiwanese researchers have found that over time, sleep apnea weakens the bones and joints. As more research is conducted, the effects of sleep apnea on overall health become more and more serious. This renders every sleep apnea diagnosis a serious thing.
Sleep apnea is certainly tricky to diagnose, as its most prevalent symptoms, like snoring, occur during slumber. Oftentimes, to achieve a correct sleep apnea diagnosis, a specialist recommends a sleep test.
First, your doctor will most likely check your mouth, nose, and throat for enlarged tissues. Some adults suffering from sleep apnea have an enlarged uvula or soft palate.
Sleep center sleep tests
Your doctor may refer you to a sleep disorder center to determine if you have sleep apnea. While there, a sleep specialist monitors your breathing and other physical functions overnight while you sleep. At the sleep center, you will most likely receive a polysomnogram (PSG) to record your heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, and eye movements while you sleep. Upon completion of your overnight stay, a sleep specialist will review your results to determine your sleep apnea diagnosis.
Home sleep tests
Home sleep tests are gaining in popularity, as they are less expensive and more convenient for patients to undergo. These tests involve many of the same measurements as those conducted at a sleep center. A sleep apnea diagnosis is determined if there are drastic plummets in your blood oxygen levels or breathing patterns during sleep. Home sleep test results are not always foolproof, so your doctor may recommend a PSG in addition.
In cases of obstructive sleep apnea that deal with blocked airways, patients are occasionally referred to specialists for diagnosis and treatment. These doctors can include an ear, nose and throat doctor who addresses air blockage in the nose or throat. Patients with central sleep apnea, the type originating in the nervous system, may be referred to a neurologist for treatment or diagnosis.
To address sleep apnea symptoms and seek a diagnosis, schedule a consultation with our sleep apnea dentist.