How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Q:

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

A:

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted. There are three types of sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax, causing the airway to narrow or close off. The brain senses the inability to breathe causing the person to briefly wake up.

Initially a doctor will review a person’s health and sleep history. To diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, a home sleep test may be completed. This is a simple test used at home to measure heart rate, blood oxygen levels and breathing patterns. Based on the results of this test, the person may be referred to a sleep clinic for more extensive overnight testing to monitor brain activity, breathing patterns, movement of extremities, oxygen levels and heart and lung activities.

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Written by John Hawes
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John Hawes is the CCO and co-founder at SureHire Occupational Health Testing. John graduated in 2001 from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. As a former physical therapist, John uses his knowledge of physical therapy and interest in ergonomics and biomechanics to devise fit for work testing.

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