One of the most important steps in treating a sleeping disorder is diagnosing it. Your medical doctor may make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms or may refer you to a sleep disorder center. If you are referred to a sleep specialist, they can help you decide on your need for further evaluation. While symptoms such as snoring can be indicators that you may have sleep apnea, a sleep study is how your doctor will diagnose your sleeping disorder.
During your initial examination, your doctor will ask you questions about how you sleep and how you function during the day. He or she will want to know how loudly you snore and if you have long pauses in breathing during the night.
Your doctor will check your mouth, nose, and throat for extra or large tissues. Children who have sleep apnea might have enlarged tonsils. Doctors may need only a physical exam and medical history to diagnose sleep apnea in children.
Specific tests to detect sleep apnea may include any of the following :
1) Nocturnal polysomnography. During this type of test, patients spend a night at a sleep clinic where they are hooked up to equipment that monitors a variety of factors including heart, lung, and brain function while they sleep. The results of these tests are extremely effective in determining treatment for sleep apnea.
2) Home sleep tests. In some cases, patients are provided with a test to be used at home to diagnose their sleep apnea. These home tests measure your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, airflow, and breathing patterns. Portable monitoring devices don’t detect all cases of sleep apnea, so your doctor may still recommend polysomnography even if your initial results appear to be normal.
If you are diagnosed with certain types of sleep apnea, you may be referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor. This will allow your doctor to rule out a possible blockage in your nose or throat. An additional evaluation by a heart doctor or a nervous system specialist may be necessary to examine additional factors that could be contributing to your sleep apnea.
If you are looking for a specialist to help with your sleep apnea, there are various resources to help. We recommend that patients click on the following links for more information about various physician directories and sleep centers:
Patients can check the credentials of specialists at the websites of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine. You should also feel free to ask any doctor about their credentials and the diagnostic procedures that will be followed.
If you find yourself waking up due to snoring or other causes multiple times every night, you could be suffering from sleep apnea. Dr. Bell is delighted to answer any questions you may have and will help find a sleep apnea treatment that is tailored to meet your specific needs. Don’t wait to get treatment, schedule your consultation with Dr. Bell today.
450 W Market St
Hallam, PA 17406
Monday: 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 10AM - 7PM
Thursday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM