Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Snoring may be the first sign of sleep apnea, but it does not always mean you have it. To help in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, your doctor may make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms. You may also be referred to a sleep disorder center for proper diagnosis. A sleep specialist will work with you to decide if further evaluation is needed—this often involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions while you are sleeping. With advancements in technology, home testing continues to gain popularity because of its ease for patients, as well as being less expensive.

Here are common approaches to diagnosing sleep apnea:

Sleep Studies

Types of sleep Studies:

  • Polysomnography (PSG): This is the most common sleep study for diagnosing sleep apnea. It is usually conducted in a sleep center or at home using portable equipment. PSG monitors various physiological parameters during sleep, such as brain activity, eye movement, heart rate, muscle activity, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels.
  • Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT): In some cases, a simplified sleep study can be done at home to monitor breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and heart rate. This is often used for diagnosing uncomplicated cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Other Approaches

Clinical Assessment:

A healthcare professional, often a sleep specialist or pulmonologist, will conduct a thorough medical history interview. They will inquire about symptoms, sleep patterns, lifestyle factors, and any underlying health conditions.

Physical Examination:

A physical examination may be conducted to assess factors such as neck circumference, which can be associated with an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

Collaboration with Specialists

Collaboration with dental professionals may be sought for cases where oral appliances are considered as part of the treatment plan. Additionally, consultation with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist may be recommended in certain cases.

Additional Tests:

Depending on the suspected cause of sleep apnea, additional tests may be recommended. This can include imaging studies like a CT scan or MRI to evaluate the airway or specialized tests to assess the function of the upper airway muscles.

Once a comprehensive assessment is completed, we can determine the presence and severity of sleep apnea and develop an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Call us today at 678-899-6076

To schedule a Sleep Evaluation and learn how Oral Appliance Therapy can help you.