A sleep study, known as polysomnography, is required to establish
the presence of any sleep disorders, including sleep apnea,
leg movements, etc.
During a full sleep study the patient’s brain wave activity
is monitored to determine the various sleep stages. Other things
measured include eye activity, heart rate, airflow from the mouth
and nose, chest and abdomen movement, oxygen levels in the blood,
body position, and muscle movements. This is all accomplished pain-free,
with the use of patches and belts.
Apnea is from the Greek work meaning, “lack of air.” It
is estimated that 9% of all males and 4% of all females have some
form of sleep disorder. One of the most common sleep disorders,
and potentially life threatening, is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is
defined as the cessation of breathing for at least 10 seconds during
sleep. This leads to a drop in oxygen in the blood, and an interruption
in sleep patterns. Patients generally awaken and still feel tired
no matter how much time they have spent in bed. This is known as
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, (EDS).
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness. Generally a “tired feeling” all
the time or at inappropriate times.
- Morning headaches
Loud snoring with periods of silence of “gasps”
- Dozing while driving
- Memory and/or judgement problems
- Personality changes
Sleep Apnea Questionnaire: Do you…
- Know that you snore or are told that snore?
- Often get sleepy in the daytime?
- Feel drowsy when driving?
- Wake up with morning headaches?
- Have frequent memory or judgement problems during the
- Experience frequent irritability during the day?
- Notice or are told you have a personality change?
- Wake up and/or make frequent trips to the bathroom
during the night?
- Weigh 20% or more than your ideal body weight?
- Have a neck size 17 inches or greater (male)
or 16 inches or greater (female)?
- Have high blood pressure?
- Have a decrease in sexual drive?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions,
especially snoring (#1) with excessive sleepiness (#2) or drowsy
when driving (#3),
you may be experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea, a serious
sleep disorder problem. Please talk with your physician.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea Include:
- Obesity: 20% or greater of ideal body weight
- Large neck firth: 17 inches or greater in males, and 16 inches
or greater in females
- Male gender
- Anatomic Abnormalities, such as large tonsils, adenoids, etc.
- Family history
- Alcohol or sedative use
- Lung disease
- Age: greater than 65
MOST SLEEP PROBLEMS ARE EASILY DIAGNOSED AND TREATED.
THE TESTING PROCESS USUALLY CAN BE COMPLETED IN ONE NIGHT
WITH THE ABILITY TO GO TO WORK AFTER THE STUDY.
Marc Schlichting, Dave Wheatcraft, Monica Christensen