What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea.
DIY Sleep Apnea Screening Questionnaires
You can find free questionnaires to see if you are at risk for having obstructive sleep apnea
The Berlin Questionnaire https://www.sleepapnea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/berlin-questionnaire.pdf
The Stop-Bang Questionnaire https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/media/STOP%20BANG%20Questionnaire.pdf
Both questionnaires can help you determine whether or not you need to talk with your doctor about obstructive sleep apnea. Compared to the Stop-Bang Questionnaire, The Berlin Questionnaire is more commonly used in research settings. The Stop-Bang was developed as a pre-surgical tool to rapidly screen patients before surgery. For those of you wanting to learn more about these questionnaires, here is an article that compares the two types of questionnaires. http://www.stopbang.ca/publication/pdf/pub6.pdf
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While screening questionnaires can suggest that you might have obstructive sleep apnea, you need an objective test to confirm the diagnosis. Sleep apnea is diagnosed by sleep testing. There are two types of tests available. The most common and least costly is a home sleep test. The home sleep test uses a portable machine worn in the comfort of your home. One advantage of home sleep testing is the test can be done while you sleep in familiar surroundings. Home tests only screen for obstructive sleep apnea and are less expensive than polysomnograms.
The second type of test is called a polysomnogram. The polysomnogram is usually done in a sleep center. The polysomnogram can detect a variety of types of sleep disorders. Testing requires a trained technician and expensive equipment. The equipment includes monitors to record brain waves during wake and sleep: monitors on the chest and abdomen to record movement associated with breathing: a thermister worn under the nostrils to detect temperature changes: a pressure transducer worn under the nostrils to monitory air pressure and flow. Oxygen Saturation or pulse oximeter: a small piece of medical equipment worn on the finger or a digit to record blood oxygen levels: monitors on the legs to record movement: an audio recorder to detect snoring and video recording to look or unusual movements during sleep.
Both test record the number of times your breathing stops and the number of times you have shallow breaths associated with oxygen desaturations.
What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
About 75% of people with obstructive sleep apnea are about their ideal body weight. You can check your body mass index (BMI) here
2. Obstruction of the upper airway by enlarged tonsils, adenoids or nasal polyps
3. Genetic syndromes associated with small facial features or nasal passages. Downs Syndrome is one genetic defect associated with obstructive syndrome. A cleft lip or cleft palate can cause obstructive sleep apnea.
Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Positive Airway Pressure Machines
Breathing devices such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines are common sleep apnea treatments.
Life Style Changes
Tobacco cessation may help mild obstructive sleep apnea
Implants are small devices surgically implanted under the skin with a wire used to stimulate the tongue. The are currently two types of implants: the Inspire and the Aura60000. Read more about them here
Complications of Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Diabetes Type 2
Low testosterone level
If you have OSAS and you are having difficulty tolerating your CPAP machine, read my tips on how to love your cpap machine. http://www.drhamiltonstubbs.com/new-products/how-to-love-your-cpap-machine