Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. However, you may then be referred to a sleep specialist.

Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Bring results of prior sleep studies or other tests with you, or ask that they be given to your sleep specialist.
  • Ask someone, such as a spouse or partner, who has seen you sleeping to come with you to your appointment. He or she will likely be able to provide your doctor with additional information.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. For central sleep apnea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • How will treating or not treating my central sleep apnea affect my health now and in the future?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or do they come and go?
  • Can you describe your typical sleep schedule?
  • How long do you sleep, and do you sleep soundly? How many times do you wake during the night?
  • Do you know if you snore?
  • How do you feel when you wake up? Are you short of breath?
  • Do you fall asleep easily during the day?
  • Has anyone ever told you that you stop breathing while you're sleeping?
  • Are you short of breath when you wake up at night?
  • Do you have heart problems? Have you suffered a stroke?
June 28, 2016
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