Diagnosing Sleep Apnea – Las Vegas, NV
Confirming the Nature of Your Sleep Disorder
As important as it is to address your sleep apnea as soon as you can, Dr. Pam West can only create a treatment plan once she has confirmed that you’re suffering from the disorder. The diagnosis phase also allows her to narrow down the kind of treatments that would be helpful in your specific case. If you’ve been feeling exhausted during the day and have been told you snore loudly at night, call us today to schedule a consultation and begin the process.
At the beginning of your visit, you should describe, in as much detail as possible, all the signs and symptoms that you’ve noticed (including snoring, general sleepiness, insomnia, and problems concentrating). Dr. West will need to consider this information along with your medical history, which may include:
- A family history of sleep apnea or similar sleep-related disorders
- Risk factors such as obesity, your lifestyle, and your age
- Any health complications that might be related to sleep apnea, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
During your visit, we’ll perform an examination to look for physical factors that might be contributing to sleep apnea episodes. For example, patients with an unusually large neck circumference (more than 17 inches for men and more than 16 inches for women) are more likely to have issues with their breathing while they sleep. Similar risk factors that could lead to a blocked airway include obesity and large tonsils. Jaw size, tongue size, and tongue position also need to be taken into account.
If your medical history and physical examination give us reason to believe you may have sleep apnea, we’ll arrange for a sleep study to be performed. These tests can measure how many sleep apnea events you suffer from each night, and it can detect the level of activity in the muscles that are responsible for controlling your breathing. Blood oxygen levels, brain activity, and heart activity are also monitored throughout the night. These tests can confirm the presence of sleep apnea, and the results can tell us how severe it is, which will affect the course of treatment.
Ruling Out Other Health Issues
It might be necessary to perform additional tests to rule out specific medical conditions that might be causing sleep apnea. This may include blood tests to check the levels of certain hormones; women may also need a pelvic ultrasound to check the ovaries.
We’ll also need to know about any opioids or other medications you’re using. These medicines can sometimes either cause sleep apnea symptoms or affect your sleep in other ways. If you’ve been traveling recently, be sure to tell us if you ever went to altitudes greater than 6,000 feet; people that have been exposed to the low-oxygen environment at that height will sometimes notice the signs of sleep apnea for a few weeks.
Once all the necessary tests and examinations are complete, we can decide if oral appliance therapy or combined therapy are suitable options in your case.