If you feel you have symptoms of sleep apnea, its time to see a sleep specialist for a sleep apnea diagnosis, which begins with an in-office exam and may lead to an overnight sleep study in a lab. The initial evaluation will consist of a thorough head and nose exam by an otolaryngologist. They may then recommend a sleep study or polysomnogram.
The Nose and Throat Exam
A nose and throat exam is a starting point that can reveal potential blockages such as nasal obstruction, a large uvula, enlarged tonsils, or an enlarged tongue.
The Sleep Study
Sleep study tests are scheduled in a sleep center, where patients are asked to stay overnight. The polysomnogram has evolved as a standard for measuring sleep. Sleep laboratories are set up with sleeping rooms that are run by sleep technicians called polysomnographic technologists.
The polysomnograph collects information from electrodes that are taped to a person’s head, face, chin, chest, abdomen, and legs. The data that is recorded is compared to a set of recordings considered to be within normal range. During a polysomnogram session, other monitors are used to record the amount of air traveling in through the nose and mouth as well as the amount of oxygen in the person’s blood.
In-Home Sleep Studies
Home sleep studies are a relatively new advancement in diagnosing sleep apnea. Eos Sleep provides portable monitoring equipment to our patients that are suspected of having sleep apnea and meet the criteria after a physical exam. To learn more, visit the Home Sleep Study section.
The Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) has evolved as the measure of severity of sleep apnea and measures the cessation in breath and reduction in airflow.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
The MSLT is a sleep apnea study to determine the severity of your daytime sleepiness. Patients who take this test are usually scheduled for the morning after an all-night polysomnogram in a sleep study lab. This test usually takes an entire day, and is designed to measure variations in drowsiness during daytime hours.
Once sleep apnea is studied and a diagnosis is made, there are various treatments, from lifestyle modifications, to breathing machines and surgery that can be the right treatment for you. Learn more about available sleep apnea treatments.