What is a Sleep Study?

Proper diagnosis of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders call for a sleep study or a “polysomnography.” Most often the sleep study is conducted in a special facility called a sleep center. Patients come prepared to spend the night. Various functions will be recorded during the time you are asleep. Generally people will sleep around six hours for the study. Records taken may include an EKG which measures the heart rhythm and rate, and an EEG also known as an electroencephalogram. This records brain waves during sleep. The eye and chin movements are measured by and EOG or electroculogram. These movements signal the different stages of sleep. Respiration rates are measured by chest bands.

Other monitors detect the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Leg movements are also recorded. No needles are used in the sleep study and there are no painful devices.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

The most important part of the sleep study for those with OSA is the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) because it indicates the severity of the problem. When you stop breathing for 10 or more seconds it is called an apnea. A hypopnea is a constricted breath that lasts at least 10 seconds. The index number is determined by the number of apneas and hypopneas that occur within one hour of sleep. An index number of 5-15 is considered mild obstructive sleep apnea. Moderate OSA is from 15-30. Anything over 30 is classified as severe.  Treatment options are determined by the severity of your condition.

Once you have been diagnosed, it is important to get the treatment prescribed. Failure to do so will adversely impact your health. Sleep apnea is not an inconvenience to be ignored. It is a serious condition that needs to be treated before it causes serious damage to your general health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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