How Do We Diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
At PRECiDENT, we take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. We want to find out where your airway is being blocked so we can develop an appropriate treatment plan. This plan may be as simple as prescribing a CPAP machine. Or it may mean looking into surgery to open up the airway.
We examine every possible cause so that we can address those issues. Some patients simply need to lose weight and use a CPAP machine. Others, however, need surgery to correct a variety of issues in the airway. No matter what the underlying cause of your sleep apnea is, the only way to help you sleep better is to take a comprehensive approach to diagnose sleep apnea.
One of the key parts of diagnosing sleep apnea is performing a sleep study. Sleep studies allow us to collect information about your sleep patterns. We use that information to determine whether you have obstructive sleep apnea and how severe it is.
Sleep studies can either be performed in a sleep-lab or in the comfort of your own home. In-lab sleep studies are usually performed when we aren’t sure if you have OSA or another type of sleep disorder. Home sleep tests are recommended when we are sure you have OSA and we just want to know more about your specific case. Either way, sleep studies for sleep apnea are crucial to making sure you get the treatment you need.
Medical History and Symptoms
We also need to know your medical history and review your symptoms in order to diagnose sleep apnea. This helps us get a better idea of what we’re dealing with. We will want to know about other medical conditions, including high blood pressure, that could be causing problems with your airway. It’ll also be helpful to know about any other family members that have sleep disorders as well.
It will also be helpful for you to keep a record of your symptoms. Make a note of when you first noticed a change in your energy, daytime sleepiness, and more. As the days go by, record how you feel and make any necessary notes about your environment or other things that may be impacting your sleep. Having these notes on hand will make it easier for you to discuss your issues with your doctor. You’ll be able to remember things you might forget otherwise.
We will review all of this information with you so we can start figuring out where your sleep apnea is coming from.
Examining Your Airway
The most important step in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea is examining your airway. Once we determine you have sleep apnea we don’t want to just automatically prescribe a CPAP and hope that works. We want to uncover the root cause. In order to do that we need to examine your airway.
We want to see if parts of your airway, like your jaw, could be causing an obstruction. Sometimes if you have an underdeveloped jaw, it can impact the size of your airway. Then, when you lay down to sleep your airway is blocked. In this situation, sleep apnea surgery is going to be more effective than CPAP therapy. But the only way we can know that is by examining your airway.
This examination will involve both physically looking at the airway and getting X-rays.
Are You Ready for Aa Better Night’s Sleep?
Dealing with any sleep disorder is stressful. Not getting a good night’s sleep has an impact on your life. You’re tired all the time. Focusing at work gets harder and harder. Your relationship with your family is strained. If you are experiencing any of these side effects of obstructive sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with the specialists at PRECiDENT. We want to help you get a better night’s sleep so you can get back to living your life.