Sleep apnea test and diagnosis that you should know about

Sleep Apnea Test and Diagnosis That You Should Know About

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that afflicts about 20 million adults in the US. This disorder causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you are sleeping.

Sadly, most people mistake sleep apnea as something simple like snoring, and that is why it is often ignored. The dangerous part is, this condition, when left untreated, may increase your risk of developing different health concerns like diabetes and hypertension.

Because of this, it is a must that you determine if there is more to your snoring than you think.

Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

The very first thing that you need to do is to watch out for possible signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Here are some of them:

  • Loud Chronic Snoring

When someone complains that you snore loudly at night, you would feel embarrassed and look for a way on how to stop snoring. Before you do that, why don’t you try to dig a little deeper?

Someone complains that you snore loudly at night

Someone complains that you snore loudly at night

Snoring is the sound your body produces as a result of vibrations in your upper respiratory tract. There is nothing wrong in snoring, but if it is regular, disruptive and loud, you may need to consider sleep apnea.

  • Chronic Fatigue

Do you feel tired all the time? This may be because even if you sleep for 8 hours every night, you still don’t get enough rest due to breathing pauses which interrupts your sleep.

Signs of excessive daytime fatigue include lack of energy, feeling of tiredness all day long, the need to take frequent naps and difficulty in concentrating at tasks at hand.

  • Frequent Pauses in Breathing

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, the fatty tissues of your throat or tongue get relaxed while you are asleep. As a result, it may restrict your airflow which may lead you to stop breathing for a few seconds.

  • Hypertension

When you stop breathing for a few seconds, your brain will realize that it is not receiving the right oxygen levels and will then cause a spike in blood pressure to restrict the blood vessels and jumpstart your oxygen system.

  • Headaches

Pause in breathing may lower the oxygen levels to your brain. As a result, blood vessels dilate which may cause your head to ache upon waking up.

  • Mood Swings

Lack of quality sleep will cause you to be irritable and moody. Long-term sleep deprivation may lead to increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

If you wish to know how sleep apnea takes place, watch this video:

The Sleep Apnea Test

So you see, sleep apnea is dangerous and may cause a wide array of health issues when neglected. To prevent that, you need to have yourself checked right away.

The first thing that you can do is to share your signs and symptoms with your family practitioner. If the doctor thinks that your disorder is indeed sleep apnea, he may refer you to a sleep disorder center. When you visit there, further evaluation will be conducted by a sleep specialist.

To determine if you have sleep apnea or not, some of the tests that he may use are the following:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography

This sleep apnea test is called as a sleep study which uses surface electrodes to place on your scalp and face to detect and records certain physical activities while you are asleep. These electrodes will then send signals to the measuring equipment beside you.

Besides, belts and will be placed around your abdomen and chest to determine your breathing activities. You will also have an oximeter probe bandaged around your finger to determine the amount of oxygen you have in your blood.

Read more: Why You Wake Up with Headache (and What You Can Do About It!)

  • Home sleep apnea test

If the doctor deems that you do not have any other medical issues aside from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, he may consider this test. For this type of test, you are allowed to sleep in the comforts of your own bed.

Home sleep apnea test

Home sleep apnea test

However, you will have to wear a small device that is far less complicated than the ones used for polysomnography. However, it performs the same functions—monitor your blood oxygen levels and, measure your breathing and heart rate.

Other less commonly used tests for sleep are electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG), electrooculogram (EOG), electrocardiogram (ECG), snore microphone, and nasal airflow sensor.

In Summary

Sleep apnea is one disorder you should not take for granted. Keep in mind that oxygen is needed to facilitate almost all our bodily functions. If you want to stay healthy and avoid complications associated with sleep apnea, call your doctor so he can perform a sleep apnea test on you right away.

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