Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is commonly prescribed to treat sleep apnea, a condition diagnosed via a sleep study. The goal is to improve breathing at night, but how do you know if treatment such as the CPAP is working well enough? The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) can be a helpful measure to diagnose the severity of the condition at baseline and track the effectiveness of your treatment.
Diagnosis of Sleep Deprivation
As we have already discussed, sleep specialists state that the most tell-tale sign of sleep deprivation is feeling drowsy during the day. Even if a task is very uninteresting, you should be able to stay alert if you are not sleep deprived. If you fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you are likely to have very severe sleep deprivation.
Those who have sleep deprivation also tend to suffer from micro-sleep, a brief period of sleep experienced during waking time. A person is rarely aware that they have experienced micro-sleep and will simply view it as a few lost seconds. If you are driving while fatigued, you may not remember how you got to your destination. This is an example of micro-sleep.
There are occasions it is a more serious, even life-threatening, sleep disorder like sleep apnea. If this is even a possibility, a sleep specialist may decide to conduct a sleep study to monitor your breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs over the course of the night. It also provides an excellent amount of information to help diagnose and treat your underlying conditions.
For the diagnosis process to begin, your doctor will perform a physical exam, including asking you for symptoms so that they can match them up with the ones we have already discussed. We’ve already mentioned much of the diagnosis process, and here are some of the tests your doctor might order:
Polysomnogram: a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep.
Electroencephalogram: a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity.
Genetic blood testing: a blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that might be causing sleep apnea.
If you believe you or a loved one is suffering through sleep apnea, call Alaska Sleep Clinic today to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists for your free sleep evaluation.