Your doctor may make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms or may refer you to a sleep disorder center. There, a sleep specialist can help you decide on your need for further evaluation. Such an evaluation often involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions during sleep. Home sleep testing is gaining in popularity, because it's often easier for you and less expensive. Tests to detect sleep apnea may include:
- Nocturnal polysomnography. During this test, you're hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
- Home sleep tests. In some cases, your doctor may provide you with simplified tests to be used at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests usually involve measuring your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. If you have sleep apnea, the test results will show drops in your oxygen level during apneas and subsequent rises with awakenings. If the results are abnormal, your doctor may be able to prescribe a therapy without further testing. Portable monitoring devices don't detect all cases of sleep apnea, so your doctor may still recommend polysomnography even if your initial results are normal.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) to rule out any blockage in your nose or throat. An evaluation by a heart doctor (cardiologist) or a doctor who specializes in the nervous system (neurologist) may be necessary to look for causes of central sleep apnea.
Jul. 24, 2012
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3633173. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- What is sleep apnea? National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/sleep_apnea/sleep_apnea.htm. Accessed April 27, 2012.
- What is sleep apnea? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/. Accessed April 27, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9129170. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Javaheri S. Central sleep apnea. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2010;31:235.
- Badr MS. Central sleep apnea syndrome: Risk factors, clinical presentation, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Yaggi HK, et al. Adult obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome: Definitions, risk factors, and pathogenesis. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2010;31:179.
- Strohl KP. Overview of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Tamisier R, et al. Cardiovascular effects of obstructive sleep apnea. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Sunwoo B, et al. Ambulatory management of patients with sleep apnea: Is there a place for portable monitor testing?
- Kryger MH. Management of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Berry RB, et al. A novel nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: A randomized controlled trial. Sleep. 2011;34:479.
- Provent therapy frequently asked questions. Ventus Medical. http://www.proventtherapy.com/provent-therapy-faq.php. Accessed May 2, 2012.
- Kushida CA, et al. Practice parameters for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliances: An update for 2005. Sleep. 2006;29:240.
- Aurora RN, et al. Practice parameters for the surgical modifications of the upper airway for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Sleep. 2010;33:1408.
- Badr MS. Central sleep apnea syndrome: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- 17. Randerath WJ, et al. Non-CPAP therapies in obstructive sleep apnoea. European Respiratory Journal. 2011;37:1000.
- Freire AO, et al. Treatment of moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome with acupuncture: A randomised, placebo-controlled pilot trial. Sleep Medicine. 2007;8:43.