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How To Test Positive For Sleep Apnea

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Sleep Apnea Test Results Explained

Part 2: Testing for Sleep Apnea and Calculating Apnea Severity: Sleep Education Series

    After a potentially-long night completing a polysomnographyknown more commonly as a sleep study, which has been performed for decades to diagnose and evaluate the severity of sleep apneathe last thing you want to do is comb through a bunch of numbers to try to decipher your sleep apnea test results.;

    While you may be eager to review your sleep apnea test results, looking through the data may not be as informative if you dont know how to interpret your sleep apnea results. Until you can speak directly with your primary care physician about what your sleep apnea test results indicate, this handy guide can help provide a basic understanding of sleep apnea and your overnight sleeping habits.

    Theres quite a bit of data in the report, and if you want to read and understand your sleep apnea test results, its helpful to know these four things. You will want to discuss the results in-depth with your doctor at your next appointment, though, so they can interpret the information and provide tailored recommendations. Having sleep apnea test results questions is normal, and your primary care physician or sleep health doctor can guide you through your concerns.;

    Know Your Sleep Apnea Risk Level

    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects more than 30 million Americans who suffer from lack of restorative sleep.

    The majority are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.

    Typical symptoms include heavy snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, difficulty with concentration or memory, among many others.

    Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health consequences.

    What Causes Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is usually observed in patients with central nervous system dysfunction, such as following a stroke or in patients with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . It is also common in patients with heart failure and other forms of heart, kidney or lung disease.

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    What To Know About An At

    Do you find yourself waking up tired, or maybe with a headache or drymouth?Obstructive sleep apneacould be to blame. This happens when your breathing is interrupted duringsleep, often for more than ten seconds.;

    When you sleep, your muscles relax, including the throat and chest muscles that help you breathe. If you have sleep apnea, relaxation of throat muscles combine with a narrowed airway to interrupt breathing.

    At-home sleep apnea testing is an easy, cost-effective way to figure out whether youre having trouble breathing, says;Susheel P. Patil, MD, PhD,;clinical director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Medicine Program. A home sleep apnea test is a very simplified breathing monitor that tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while worn. It does not fully capture what is monitored with an overnight sleep study. Overnight sleep studies give a more thorough assessment of sleep issues. They are attended by a sleep technologist and capture many more signals, including brainwaves for sleep, muscle tone, and leg movements. For individuals with certain heart, breathing, or neuromuscular problems, an overnight sleep study at a sleep center may be better.

    If you are being told that you snore, snort and gasp, if you have disrupted sleep or are sleepy during the day, and you are overweight or obese, an at-home sleep apnea test may be very appropriate. Talk with your clinical provider about your options., Patil says.

    The Questionnaire Has An Even Higher Predictive Value When You Answer Four More Questions:

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring testing and treatment
    • B: Is your Body Mass Index more than 35 kg/m2?
    • A: Is your age more than 50 years old?
    • N: Is your neck circumference greater than 40 cm?
    • G: Is your gender male?

    You have a high risk of sleep apnea if you answered “yes” to three or more of the eight STOP-BANG questions. You are strongly encouraged to discuss these results with your medical provider. To find a sleep center in your area, please visit .

    There is now evidence that football players are a especially high risk for sleep apnea, particularly those who play offensive and defensive line positions. Learn more about sleep apnea in football players at .

    Learn more about what to expect from a sleep evaluation.

    MyApnea.Org, a patient-centered research resource, has been created to engage and inform at-risk and existing sleep apnea patients. Visit to read more about this effort and to contribute to important research efforts that aim to better the lives of patients living with sleep apnea.

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    What Is A Sleep Study

    Youll usually do;a sleep study at home, using equipment lent to you for a night. But you may go to hospital overnight for a detailed study.

    If youre worried about the study, ask the sleep clinic what will happen. You can do some simple things to prepare, such as avoiding alcohol or caffeine and not taking a nap or strenuous exercise on the day. Let the clinic know if youve got any special requirements. If youre ill on the date of your study, its best to postpone it until youre feeling better.

    For the study, youll be monitored as you sleep by equipment attached to you. This is completely painless and youll be able to roll over and change positions. You may be asked to sleep on your back for a while to see if this affects your breathing. If youre in hospital and experiencing obvious signs of OSA, you may be woken up to use a continuous positive airway pressure machine, so you can be assessed with and without it.

    There are different kinds of sleep studies used to diagnose OSA.

    Living With Sleep Apnea

    Learn about the importance of sleep and the different types of sleep apneas. Familiarize yourself with diagnosis, testing, treatment options, and how to cope with the life-long effects of sleep apnea.; You can help reduce the effects of sleep apnea by making healthy choices like getting restorative sleep, eating right and staying active. Its also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain sleep apnea early on.

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    What Is Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that happens when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night.

    If its not treated, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including hypertension , stroke, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes and heart attacks. Untreated sleep apnea can also be responsible for job impairment, work-related accidents and motor vehicle crashes, as well as underachievement in school in children and adolescents.

    There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central:

    • Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs as repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep. During an apneic episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder as the pressure increases to open the airway. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with sound sleep, reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs, and cause heart rhythm irregularities.
    • In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. Central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system.

    Sleep Study Test Results

    What is a Sleep Apnea Test

    The process of being diagnosed for sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder can feel like a lengthy one, but being knowledgeable prior to starting can be very helpful. When youve finally completed the hardest part of the sleep apnea diagnosis process the sleep study you will be ready to learn about your sleep study results. From scoring services to how your sleep study score is calculated, here is everything you need to know about the final phase of diagnosis. Home sleep studies like WatchPAT ONE help walk you through the entire process from seeing if you are at risk to interpreting your results. Learn more here.

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    How Is Sleep Apnea Treated

    Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be treated in several ways, including continuous positive airway pressure , oral appliances, surgery or surgical implants, says Worley. CPAP remains the leading choice for sleep apnea treatment, but each patient should consult their doctor and sleep therapists to identify the option that meets their individual needs.

    CPAP machines help keep airways open using pressurized air. There are various options when it comes to CPAP machines, including different masks and settings. While some settings are by a sleep specialist based on sleep study results, others are individualized for comfort. CPAP machines and accessories are usually obtained through CPAP and sleep equipment stores, and may be covered by insurance plans.;

    An alternative to the CPAP machine is a custom-fit, customized oral appliance that holds the mouth in a position that helps prevent the collapse of relaxed oral muscles and tissues, allowing the airway to stay unblocked, Dr. Smith says.

    How Should I Care For And Clean My Equipment

    Regardless of whether or not you have insurance, CPAP equipment and supplies are expensive and you want to clean regularly to get the longest life out of your machine and other supplies.

    The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Contact your physician or health care provider when you have health related questions. Never disregard or delay medical advice because of information you have obtained on this site.

    • Tel: 293-3650
    • Fax: 293-3650

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    Diagnosis Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea In Adults Using A Split

    Recommendation 5: We suggest that, if clinically appropriate, a split-night diagnostic protocol, rather than a full-night diagnostic protocol for polysomnography be used in the diagnosis of OSA.

    Remarks: Clinically appropriate is defined as the absence of conditions identified by the clinician that are likely to interfere with successful diagnosis and treatment using a split-night protocol.

    This recommendation is based on a split-night protocol that initiates CPAP titration only when the following criteria are met: a moderate to severe degree of OSA is observed during a minimum of 2 hours of recording time on the diagnostic PSG, AND at least 3 hours are available for CPAP titration.


    This recommendation is based on evidence from nine studies that included typical sleep clinic patients studied for symptoms of OSA. The quality of evidence was determined to be low due to imprecision, indirectness, and risk of bias. In the context of an appropriate protocol, a split-night study has acceptable accuracy to diagnose OSA in an uncomplicated adult patient and may improve efficiency of care when performed in the context of adequate clinical and technical expertise. The split-night protocol potentially provides enhanced efficiency of care by diagnosing OSA and establishing PAP treatment needs within a single night recording.


    Diagnosis And Treatment Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea In Adults

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The Battle for Equal Diagnosis ...

    MICHAEL SEMELKA, DO; JONATHAN WILSON, MD; and RYAN FLOYD, MD, Excela Health Latrobe Hospital, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

    Am Fam Physician.;2016;Sep;1;94:355-360.

    ;Patient information: See related handout on obstructive sleep apnea, written by the authors of this article.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a common, chronic disorder that disrupts breathing during sleep. It affects persons of all ages but especially those middle-aged and older.1 Patients with OSA temporarily stop or decrease their breathing repeatedly during sleep.25 This cessation or decrease in breathing is the result of repetitive partial or complete obstruction of the airway caused by narrowing of the respiratory passages.4,68 These breathing disruptions can awaken a person or prevent deep, restful sleep. The effects of fragmented sleep on daytime fatigue and sleepiness are widely recognized.3,6


    In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure lowers blood pressure and rates of arrhythmia and stroke, improves left ventricular ejection fraction in patients with heart failure, and reduces fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events.

    A recent meta-analysis demonstrated similar rates of blood pressure lowering between continuous positive airway pressure and mandibular advancement devices.



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    Testing Standards For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a commonly undiagnosed chronic condition. Studies suggest that moderate to severe OSA may contribute to the development of systemic hypertension, arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease. In addition, untreated OSA is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

    The Gold Standard: PolysomnographyGuidelines developed in 2014 by the American College of Physicians include a recommendation that patients with daytime sleepiness and snoring, witnessed apneas or other sleep disturbances undergo a sleep study, preferably polysomnography . According to the recommendations, physician assessment should include evaluation of risk factors, comorbidities and common presenting symptoms for OSA. Although a PSG performed in a sleep laboratory is the “gold standard” for diagnosing OSA, it is resource-intensive and expensive and patients must spend the night under observation.

    A positive diagnosis is established if the apnea-hypopnea index as measured by the portable device is 15 or more or if AHI is between 5 and 14 and the patient has documented symptoms of one or more of the following: excessive daytime sleepiness, insomia symptoms, waking up with breath holding, gasping or choking, impaired cognition, mood disorders, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes or a history of stroke.

    Learn more:

    Sleep Study Scoring Services

    One of the ways your sleep study test results can be tabulated is by a sleep study scoring service. There are several services offered for polysomnograms and home sleep tests that often include sleep physician interpretations.

    Because the data is compressible and easily transferable, sleep studies may be sent from a sleep center or laboratory to a sleep tech in a different part of the world. The sleep study data is sent and reviewed by a sleep technologist and a sleep doctor. They are usually contracted for outsource sleep center services.

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    Diagnostic Testing For Osa Should Be Performed In Conjunction With A Comprehensive Sleep Evaluation And Adequate Follow

    OSA is one of many medical conditions that may be the cause of sleep complaints and other symptoms. Therefore, diagnostic testing for OSA is best carried out after a comprehensive sleep evaluation. The clinical evaluation for OSA should include a thorough sleep history and a physical examination that includes the respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurologic systems. The examiner should pay particular attention to observations regarding snoring, witnessed apneas, nocturnal choking or gasping, restlessness, and excessive sleepiness. It is also important that other aspects of a sleep history be collected, as many patients suffer from more than one sleep disorder or present with atypical sleep apnea symptoms. In addition, medical conditions associated with increased risk for OSA, such as obesity, hypertension, stroke, and congestive heart failure should be identified. The general evaluation should serve to establish a differential diagnosis, which can then be used to select the appropriate test. Follow-up, under the supervision of a board-certified sleep medicine physician, ensures that study findings and recommendations are relayed appropriately; and that appropriate expertise in prescribing and administering therapy is available to the patient.

    Questions About Your Medical History

    Sleep Apnea Test At Home

    This involves talking about your symptoms and quality of life. If you have a partner bring them with you, so they can report on what happens when youre asleep. A good clinical history helps the doctor to reach a diagnosis. It may include questions about:

    • how long you sleep and the quality of your sleep
    • shift working
    • your symptoms and how long you have had them
    • your smoking history
    • your jaw size and position

    and assessing:

    • your face and jaw appearance and symmetry
    • the airflow in your nose
    • your upper airway to see if its obstructed
    • your teeth and having a look at the size of your tongue
    • the inside of your mouth and upper airway

    The clinic may also do a blood test.

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    What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    There are different types of sleep apnea, including central sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. If you have sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep. The amount of air reaching your lungs is limited. When this happens, you may snore loudly or make choking noises. Your brain and body become oxygen deprived and you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night, or in more severe cases, several hundred times a night.

    In many cases, an apnea, or a short pause in breathing, is caused by the tissue in the back of the throat collapsing. The muscles of the upper airway relax when you fall asleep. If you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back. This narrows the airway, which reduces the amount of air that can reach your lungs. The narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in the back of the throat vibrate as you breathe.

    If you feel tired or unrefreshed after waking up even though you have had a full night of sleep, it may be due to sleep apnea. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating or may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your body is waking up numerous times during the night, even though you might not be conscious of each awakening.

    The lack of oxygen your body receives can have a negative impact on your health. This includes:

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