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Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder in which a person's breathing stops and restarts while they are sleeping. This condition can be broken down into three distinct types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: the airway is becomes blocked or obstructed in some way that prevents airflow
  • Central sleep apnea: the brain doesn't send the signal to initiate breathing
  • Mixed or complex sleep apnea syndrome: a person suffers from a combination of sleep apnea types

Breathing ceasing unexpectedly in the middle of the night is scary and is what makes sleep apnea so dangerous. Even worse, people can suffer from sleep apnea and not even know it, making diagnosing sleep apnea imperative.

What Is a Sleep Study?

The Sleep Foundation defines a sleep study as a non-invasive, overnight exam that allows doctors to monitor you while you sleep to see what's happening in your brain and body.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed in a variety of ways, but there is always an evaluation of the person's breathing during sleep. This evaluation often involves overnight monitoring at a sleep center, but at-home testing can also be an option in some cases. In addition to your breathing, a sleep study conducted at a sleep center also monitors other body functions during sleep.

Mayo Clinic lists the following tests as those used to detect sleep apnea:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography: During this test, you're hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung, and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
  • Home sleep tests: Your doctor might provide you with simplified tests to be used at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests usually measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow, and breathing patterns.

If results from the sleep study are abnormal, Dr. Buck may prescribe a therapy such as a MicrO2 sleep device or another OAT treatment.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Lynnwood, WA

Diagnosis is one of the biggest obstacles in treating sleep apnea. Many people suffer the symptoms and side effects of sleep apnea without a proper diagnosis or treatment. If you believe you may be experiencing signs of sleep apnea, contact Dr. Buck at (425) 361-0968 or visit our contact page here to schedule an appointment. 

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