Sleep Apnea

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Sleep apnea diagnosis

Your healthcare provider may evaluate your conditions based on your reported signs and symptoms, as well as your sleep history (which you can provide with help from someone who shares your bed or household).

In order to diagnose17 sleep apnea, you may be referred to a sleep disorder center. The sleep specialists at these centers will help you determine whether you need further evaluation.

Evaluation of sleep apnea usually involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other bodily functions while you sleep at a sleep center. In some cases, home testing may also be an option.

Some of the monitoring tests used to detect sleep apnea include:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography: During this test, you are hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung, and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
  • Home sleep tests: A specialist may provide you with simpler tests that can be used to diagnose sleep apnea at home. These tests usually monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, airflow, and breathing patterns.

If the results are abnormal, your provider may be able to prescribe a treatment or therapy without further testing. Portable monitoring devices don’t detect all cases of sleep apnea, however, so he or she might recommend a polysomnography, even if your initial results were normal.

If you are determined to have obstructive sleep apnea, your provider or specialist might refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to rule out blockage in your nose and throat as a cause of your interrupted breathing.

An evaluation by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or specialist in the nervous system (neurologist) might also be necessary to identify the causes of central sleep apnea.

If you believe you have sleep apnea, see your provider. He or she can advise you about the right steps to take in diagnosing and treating the condition.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.