Exams and Tests
Reference Your doctor will examine you and ask you and possibly your sleep partner some questions about your lifestyle, snoring, sleep behavior, and how tired you feel during the day (this is called a Reference medical history).
Your doctor may ask you to complete a questionnaire, such as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. The answers to questions in this questionnaire can help the doctor find out if you have sleep apnea. If your doctor thinks that you may have sleep apnea, he or she may suggest sleep studies or other tests.
- Reference Sleep studies are a series of tests that record what happens to your body during sleep. The most important test for sleep apnea is polysomnography. This test records electrical activity of your brain, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, breathing, airflow through your nose and mouth, and blood oxygen levels (Reference saturation Opens New Window). Polysomnography is the only sure way to find out whether you have sleep apnea.
Other tests that you may have include:
- Blood tests to check for Reference hypothyroidism Opens New Window (Reference TSH test) or a high red blood cell count (Reference complete blood count).
- Reference Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) or Reference echocardiogram to see if sleep apnea has affected your heart.
Diagnosing sleep apnea in children
Most doctors follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:Reference 4
- During a routine checkup, your doctor will ask you and your child about snoring. If your child snores, be sure to tell your doctor.
- A complete sleep study typically is needed to find out if your child has sleep apnea and is not just snoring.
- Children who have sleep apnea should see a specialist if they also have:
Testing after initial treatment
To see how well your treatment is working, you may need sleep tests after treatment begins.
If your sleep apnea has not improved after initial treatment, and if Reference enlarged tissues in your mouth and throat are causing it, your doctor may do one or more tests before suggesting surgery to remove the excess tissue. These tests may include:
- Reference Fiber-optic pharyngoscopy, to see whether your airway is too narrow or collapses during breathing.
- Reference CT scan of the head to look for an overly large tongue and excessive soft tissue in the neck, as well as to locate the narrowest part of your airway.
- Reference X-rays Opens New Window. A cephalometric X-ray is a type of head X-ray that allows your doctor to see bone deformities of the skull. This type of X-ray test may not be available in every hospital.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 20, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine