How do you diagnose Sleep Apnea?

OSA is a serious medical condition which is associated with increased risk of stroke and in severe cases, death. Therefore sleep disorders must be diagnosed by a physician or doctor specializing in sleep disorders. Once you have undergone a sleep study and a diagnosis is given, treatment options will be discussed.

Sleep Studies

A laboratory sleep study called a polysomnogram (PSG) gives Dr. Simmons the best picture of how you breathe or don’t breathe during sleep. It gives detailed information regarding apneas (when breathing stops) and hypopneas (when breathing is shallow due to an obstruction) as well as pulse, blood oxygen levels and other physiological processes such as sleep architecture including REM sleep, heart and brain waves and even unusual moving like leg or arm jerking. Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Simmons will recommend either a PSG or a home sleep test (HST) which focuses more specifically on breathing during sleep.

What is a PSG?

A PSG is a diagnostic tool used to determine sleep disorders. PSGs are usually performed overnight either at a hospital, or at a sleep clinic, under the supervision of a sleep technician. The sleeping rooms are usually similar to a nice hotel room so that you can feel comfortable and get a “normal” nights sleep.

Polysomnograms (PSGs) are used to monitor a patient’s sleep stages (such as REM sleep) and cycles to determine what if any disturbances you have which can be caused by sleep disorders. The PSG test uses equipment that monitors brain, muscle, heart, movement and breathing activity to give the doctors a very detailed view of what, if any, sleep disorder you may be suffering from.

What is an HST?

A home sleep test (HST) is a sleep study tool that is used in your home. Different from the PSG, you use a portable device similar in size to a cell phone to monitor your sleep. This allows you to sleep in your own bed and track your sleep patterns under your normal conditions. Home sleep testing is also called an “out of center sleep study” or “unattended sleep study.”