Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you have noticed a pattern of heavy snoring, shortness of breath or a choking sensation during the night, then you may have sleep apnea. Most people thing that snoring is just snoring, but it can actually be a warning sign of something much more serious. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that could lead to heart problems, an increased likelihood of having a stroke or other ailment. If not treated properly, the sufferer could clearly face serious health problems.

In order to properly diagnose sleep apnea, a physician will ask a series of questions and possibly order a sleep study. This is what happens when a potential sleep apnea victim visit’s a sleep center for one night. During that night, they are hooked up to various monitoring devices, which keeps a close watch on their sleeping patterns, breathing and snoring. The physician carefully reviews the results and either makes a positive diagnosis for sleep apnea or informs the patient that he/she tested negative for the disorder.

It is very important that sleep apnea be diagnosed as early as possible. A spouse may be your best source of information for early warning signs, such as heavy snoring, pauses in breathing, etc. The next step will be patient awareness, which may entail the patient realizing that he/she is exhausted during the day, unable to concentrate on normal activities and may have personality changes. These are due to lack of sleep, which is what happens when a sleep apnea sufferer suddenly awakens with difficulty breathing. A sleep apnea sufferer will completely stop breathing on more than one occasion throughout the night, which may cause them to wake up frequently. Even if the do not recall what happened, they are not receiving a quality night’s sleep.

Additional warning signs, but not necessarily symptoms, include being overweight or obese, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, allergies, constantly sleeping on the back, etc. These may be a few of the factors that lead up to sleep apnea and, as a result, often have a hand in it’s prevention. By losing weight, giving up cigarettes and alcohol, ridding the home of allergens and sleeping on the side, sleep apnea may soon be a thing of the past.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as, or in place of, professional medical advice. Before beginning any treatment for snoring, please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and remedy.