How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

Approximately, 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, which is a medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can cause daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, liver problems and other health conditions, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis when symptoms present.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

People who have sleep apnea usually have symptoms such as, loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, stopping breathing during sleep, waking with a headache or dry mouth, difficulty staying asleep and daytime drowsiness. People experiencing one or more of these symptoms should discuss them with a doctor to get a diagnosis. 

Medical History

Diagnosis begins with a medical history, including a sleep history. If your doctor feels your symptoms and sleep history indicate possible sleep apnea, they may refer you to a sleep clinic for sleep testing Houston tx

Sleep Testing

Sleep testing is usually conducted overnight at a sleep center, but can sometimes be done at home. Nocturnal polysomnography is conducted at a sleep center. This test involves attaching the patient to equipment that monitors his heart, lung and brain activity, breathing, arm and leg movements and blood oxygen levels while sleeping. 

Home testing usually involves a more simplified version of this test. Home tests typically monitor heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. If the results indicate a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the patient’s doctor may prescribe treatment without further testing but may refer the patient to a sleep clinic for further evaluation. 

Sleep apnea can severely impact both quality of life and lead to severe medical conditions. Most patients can improve with treatment, so it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis if you are experiencing any of the common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.