The proper diagnosis of sleep apnoea is important in preventing many other serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and even type-2 diabetes. Sleep apnoea has also been linked to vehicular and work place accidents than can cause death to the sufferer and other people. By diagnosing and treating the condition at the earliest possible time, many diseases and accidents can be prevented.
The effects of this sleep disorder can also be costly, probably more costly than having it diagnosed or treated. Many people who have this problem end up having work and relationship problems due to depression and fatigue. Financially this may lead to loss of income or a loss of a job. Relationships with co-workers, spouses and children may also suffer.
Sleep apnoea isn’t just a simple problem about snoring noisily and keeping other people awake. It is a serious condition that can cause life threatening and expensive consequences. Diagnosis is usually done at a sleep clinic as there is no post event way of measuring if you are a sufferer and usually it is the people around you who will tell you that you have this condition, even if you do not know it yourself.
How to Diagnose Sleep Apnoea
Getting proper diagnosis of sleep apnoea from a professional can lead to specific findings like what type of sleep apnoea you really have and how to treat it. If you suspect that one of your children has this condition, you can consult with your child’s paediatrician, an ENT specialist, a pulmonologist, a psychologist or neurologist. If your medical insurance allows it, it should not be a problem to consult all these specialists.
Adults can find sleep specialists at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or the AASM; the American Board of Sleep Medicine, or the ABSM; and at the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the AADSM. These organizations are comprised of physicians and scientists who research and study sleep apnea. They can also refer you to a certified sleep clinic to get a proper diagnosis of sleep apnoea.
During a regular physical exam, your doctor can check your mouth, nose, and throat. Your physician will be looking for enlarged tonsils or uvula and sagging tissue and muscles in your throat that could be blocking air passage. The doctor will check the back of your throat for a soft palate. Your physician may also recommend a more thorough diagnosis of sleep apnoea like a sleep test at a sleep clinic.
Your physician will also ask you and your companion at home for the following symptoms: taking frequent naps, feeling fatigue even if you had been relaxed all day, he may ask if you have frequent migraines or headaches in the morning. He may also ask if you wake up frequently at night. Your doctor will ask your companion if you snore loudly and intermittently. He should also ask your spouse or partner if you gasp for air or suddenly snort loudly while you are asleep.
Your physician will base his initial diagnosis on your physical exam and medical history, plus sleeping behaviour.
Sleep Study for Sleep Apnoea Diagnosis
At a sleep clinic, you may be tested at a sleep lab where you will be asked to stay overnight. The test they will conduct on you is called a polysomnogram or a PSG test which is used for the diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea. This painless test will be conducted during sleep and will take several hours. Electrodes will be attached to your head, face, limbs, fingers and chest.
The electrodes are attached to a monitor where sleep experts can monitor the activity of your brain and muscles, movement of your eyes, heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, blood oxygen level, and the movement of air in and out of your lungs. These will all be monitored and recorded as you sleep.
Your sleep specialist will review the details of the Sleep Study, go over the results with you and then recommend the best treatment option.