Why Test

WHEN BREATHING STOPS, SLEEP BECOMES DANGEROUS

Sleep apnea is a common, chronic and sometimes fatal disorder that often goes undiagnosed for years. Apnea occurs when a sleeping person experiences one or more pauses in breathing—each lasting from a few seconds to minutes, that often recur anywhere from five to 30+ times an hour. Apnea blocks the airway, essentially suffocating the sleeping person, causing oxygen levels to dip until the body sends emergency signals to the brain to wake up from deep sleep and breathe. Sleep apnea is not only life-threatening, it causes poor sleep quality and excessive daytime drowsiness, and increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart failure, obesity, depression and diabetes.

Most people who have sleep apnea remain unaware of their condition. Sleep apnea is difficult to detect on a routine visit to the doctor and no blood test can identify the disorder. Family members or a partner may notice loud and labored snoring, or the choking gasps that occur when a sufferer begins to breathe again after bouts of apnea. Other symptoms are more subtle, such as daytime fatigue, chronic daily headaches, or difficult-to- treat high blood pressure. Prescreen yourself for signs of sleep apnea. Calculate your score on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a sleep study. If moderate to severe sleep apnea is diagnosed, the most common treatment is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which keeps the patient’s airway open during sleep by flowing pressurized air into the throat. A CPAP machine is available through a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider, at the prescription of a primary care physician, after the sleep study has been issued, processed and scored by AAA Medical Solutions.