Sleep Apnea, Part 2: Diagnosis

In case you show signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will ask about signs, symptoms, and a sleep history. The sleep history can be confirmed by someone who sleeps in the same bed or room.
The doctor can refer you to a sleep disorder center. A sleep disorder center has sleep specialists who can determine whether or not you need further evaluation.
In most cases, a sleep evaluation involves spending the night in a sleep center where your body functions will be closely monitored while you sleep. They attach electrodes to your body and you cannot sleep because the wires attached to the electrodes prevent you from moving very much. The ironic thing about a sleep evaluation is that you don’t usually sleep very much.
The technical term for the sleeping test is nocturnal polysomnography. When you take this test, they attach electrodes to your legs, your arms, and your chest. There are usually so many wires that make it hard to move. The electrodes are meant to monitor your brain, blood oxygen levels, your heart, and the movements of your legs and arms. while you are sleeping.
If you want to, you could do a home sleep test. There are simplified tests that you could ad at home. These tests measure the same things that would be measured at a sleep center or a hospital. The problem with the home sleep test is that it can’t detect all forms of sleep apnea, so the doctor might still make you do the sleep evaluation at a sleep clinic or center.
If the results are not normal, your doctor might encourage you to do a therapeutic treatment without having to do any more tests.
If the doctor thinks that you have obstructive sleep apnea, he or she will refer you to a throat, nose, and ear doctor to make sure that there is nothing blocking your throat or nose. You could see other specialists like a cardiologist for a heart evaluation or a neurologist for a brain evaluation. The neurologist would be most helpful if you had central sleep apnea.


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