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All about sleep apnea types of sleep apnea obstructive sleep apnea syndrome causes of obstructive sleep apnea symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea central sleep apnea causes of central sleep apnea symptoms of central sleep apnea risk factors for sleep apnea complications of sleep apnea diagnosis of sleep apnea treatment for sleep apnea surgeries to stop sleep apnea CPAP therapy for sleep apnea {sleep disorders} dysomnias insomnia narcolepsy sleep apnea restless legs syndrome delayed sleep phase syndrome night terror sleepwalking (somnambulism) bedwetting sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) sleeping sickness sleep paralysis snoring bruxism jet lag

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

A sleep test, called polysomnography is usually done to diagnose sleep apnea. There are two kinds of polysomnograms. An overnight polysomnography test involves monitoring brain waves, muscle tension, eye movement, respiration, oxygen level in the blood and audio monitoring. (for snoring, gasping, etc.) The second kind of polysomnography test is a home monitoring test. A Sleep Technologist hooks you up to all the electrodes and instructs you on how to record your sleep with

a computerized polysomnograph that you take home and return in the morning. They are painless tests that are usually covered by insurance.

Doctors suspect obstructive sleep apnea in older people who feel excessively sleepy during the day. The combination of obesity, a thick neck, and high blood pressure increases the doctor's suspicion. Central sleep apnea is suspected if a pattern of nonbreathing alternating with rapid breathing is witnessed. Excessive daytime sleepiness is the complaint that usually brings a person to see the doctor. A careful medical history will include questions about alcohol or tranquilizer use, snoring (often reported by the person's partner), and morning headaches or disorientation. A physical exam will include examination of the throat to look for narrowing or obstruction. Blood pressure is also measured. Measuring heart rate or blood levels of oxygen and CO2 during the daytime will not usually be done, since these are abnormal only at night in most patients.

Confirmation of the diagnosis usually requires making measurements while the person sleeps. The diagnosis is best confirmed and severity is best determined in a sleep laboratory. Electroencephalography (EEG) (see Diagnosis of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders: Electroencephalography) is used to monitor changes in levels of sleep. Eye movements can be recorded during REM sleep with electrodes placed near the eyes (a procedure called electro-oculography). Also, the oxygen level in the blood is measured with an electrode placed on a finger or an earlobe (a procedure called oximetry). Airflow is measured with a device placed in front of the nostrils, and the motion and pattern of breathing are measured with an electrode or gauge placed on the chest. This evaluation can help doctors distinguish between obstructive and central sleep apnea.

More information on sleep apnea

What is sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night. Sleep apnea means cessation of breath characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction.
What types of sleep apnea are there? - There are three types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, mixed sleep apnea.
What is obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep causes loud snoring, oxyhemoglobin desaturations and frequent arousals.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep as a result of narrowing of the respiratory passages.
What're the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? - Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, Daytime sleepiness, memory changes, depression, and irritability.
What is central sleep apnea? - Central sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations.
What causes central sleep apnea? - Conditions that can cause sentral sleep apnea include bulbar poliomyelitis, encephalitis affecting the brainstem, neurodegenerative illnesses.
What're the symptoms of central sleep apnea? - Symptoms of central sleep apnea include extreme exhaustion and sleepiness during daylight hours, early morning headaches, lack of concentration, and memory loss.
What are the risk factors for sleep apnea? - There are several factors that may predispose a person towards sleep apnea, including gender, age, ethnicity, geography, obesity, immune abnormalities.
What are the complications of sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition because there are interruptions in breathing during sleep.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed? - A sleep test, called polysomnography is done to diagnose sleep apnea. Confirmation of the diagnosis requires making measurements while the person sleeps.
What's the treatment to stop sleep apnea? - Treatment for sleep apnea is determined based on the individual's specific circumstances and can include behavioral changes, physical therapy and surgery.
What surgeries are available to cure sleep apnea? - Surgeries to stop sleep apnea include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty, tracheostomy, radiofrequency ablation.
What about the CPAP therapy for sleep apnea? - The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) therapy.
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