Though Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has many telltale symptoms, the only way to identify the nature and severity of the condition is through an overnight sleep study called polysomnography. This test monitors a sleeper to identify shallow breathing, breath stoppages, blood oxygen levels and other factors used to diagnose OSA. In the past, these tests were performed only at hospitals and sleep labs and required the patient to make an overnight stay. A laboratory test involves attaching a number of electrodes and monitoring devices to the body and the sleeper’s movements and breathing is monitored by a lab technician throughout the night. This type of study provides a lot of detailed information on the body’s physiology, which is necessary to detect rarer conditions such as central or mixed sleep apnea.
In recent years, home testing equipment for OSA is now the more common and popular option for identifying and measuring cases of obstructive sleep apnea. With home testing, a patient is given a compact monitoring device, which they wear while sleeping in their own bed. The data recorded during sleep is then downloaded for analysis by one of our doctors. Many people feel that this option is not only more cost-effective and convenient than a sleep lab study, but also creates a more realistic picture of normal sleep habits than would be the case when sleeping in the unfamiliar environment of a lab, while wearing numerous complex sensors.
Among the things a sleep study shows are the number of times a sleeper experiences shallow breathing, which is known as a hypopnea, and the number of times they stopbreathing all together, which is known as an apnea. These two events are tallied to create what is known as an Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI). If you have an AHI score of 20, it means that you have periods of shallow breathing or stoppages of breath an average of 20 times per hour during sleep. An AHI score of less than 15 is considered “mild” OSA. A score of 15 to 20 is classified as “moderate,” while an AHI over 30 is ranked as”severe.”
After your sleep testing, the professionals at Sacramento Sleep Apnea Solutions will determine the severity of your sleep apnea and make suggestions for a therapy plan, based on an examination of your airways. Rest assured, they can help you get some real rest every night! Modern dental appliances offer considerable hope for sleep apnea sufferers and our organization is ready to solve your sleep apnea situation today!