Risking it for Sleep Apnea
Please understand that Sleep Apnea is a serious and sometimes life-threatening Sleep Disorder. Some people will experience heart attack fatalities have Sleep Apnea and people with Sleep Apnea are 45% more likely to develop high blood pressure. If left untreated it will increase your likelihood of
- high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
- being involved in work- connected or driving accidents
- Make arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats more likely
- Increase the potential of, or worsen the severity of, heart attacks
There are four steps that an experienced Doctor will step through in order to correctly diagnose the symptoms you are experiencing:
- Review your personal medical history
- Review your family history
- Complete a physical examination which will include a detailed look at your airways to and from your lings
- Undertake a Sleep Study
The first three are relatively self-explanatory, whereas the fourth is less commonly known. These Sleep Studies are often conducted at Sleep Centers, clinical environments where you will go to for a “sleepover” for one and sometimes two nights using equipment that results in a Polysomnogram (a multiple sleep symptom report). More recently, new technologies allow for home-based Sleep Studies where the equipment is portable and easy to set up and wear. The equipment is then returned and then the Polysomnogram is generated by downloading the recorded data.
Sleep Studies have an excellent track record of clearly diagnosing Sleep Apnea and the results are usually quite definitive. The scale or severity then helps determine the best treatments options for you and your Doctor to discuss. A Sleep Study records your brain waves, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure both when you are awake as well as when asleep. In addition, the test also keeps track of oxygen levels in the blood, the flow of air in and out of your mouth and lungs, your chest movements and your overall movements whilst asleep.
They also have you do a pre-sleep test screening to self-assess your situation before raising this with your Doctor. Once you have completed the Sleep Study Test your Doctor will discuss the results with you and may refer to something called the Apnea-Hypopnea Index. This a scoring system that defines whether you may have Mild, Moderate or Severe Sleep Apnea and helps to determine the best treatment plan.