The first step in diagnosing sleep apnea does not come from a physician at all, but from your sleeping partner. If they have noticed any chronic snoring, pauses in your breathing, or sudden gasps of breathe you have throughout the night, then they may be recommending you talk to your primary care physician about possible sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes, such as a decrease in exercise and weight gain, can also be an indicator for potential sleep apnea. Try to track your sleep symptoms and waking frequency with a sleep journal before you schedule a consultation.
Just as looking over your symptoms and lifestyle habits are important in diagnosing sleep apnea, so is reviewing your medical history and general health to see if there are any underlying causes. Discussing these current symptoms, any current lifestyle changes, and your overall health with our expert in central sleep apnea in Los Angeles can start you on the right track to fully diagnosing your possible sleep apnea. This is the best time to seek help in getting the treatment you need. A definitive diagnosis for sleep apnea can really only be done through an overnight sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram. A polysomnogram is a multi-component test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities when you sleep, such as your brainwaves, heartbeat, breathing patterns, leg and arm movements, and blood oxygen levels. This sleep study is usually conducted in a sleep lab that is made to be as comfortable as a hotel room. It can also be performed from the home using special equipment if the patient is too uncomfortable in a sleep lab and if the sleep physician agrees that is will still provide an accurate diagnosis.
If sleep apnea is found during the study, then the patient is awakened to be fitted for a positive airway pressure, or PAP device. The rest of the slumber is then recorded based on how well they respond to the PAP therapy. Once your sleep physician has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, they may recommend treatment right away with controlled positive airways pressure device, or CPAP therapy.
If you, your sleeping partner, and your sleep physician think that you may be suffering from mild sleep apnea, other alternagtives are available for treatment, such as oral appliances. Talk to our provider of oral appliance for sleep apnea in Los Angeles to help start you treatment today.