If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with a sleep disorder or suspect a loved one may suffer from a sleep disorder, you may have many questions.
To help you find answers, we have developed this helpful page with common questions and answers regarding sleep disorders. If you would like more detail on sleep disorders please visit our Sleep Facts page, or contact us with specific questions.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
The most common sleeping disorder is “OSA”. “OSA” is when the upper airway is obstructed “closed” (10 seconds or longer) during sleep, and prevents the person sleeping from getting enough air, which usually causes wakening during the night. It is the most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness, and is most common in men with women rapidly catching up.
Common symptoms are:
How serious is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with OSA, you should know that it is a very serious condition. A survey taken in 1997 concluded that automobile accidents occurred twice as often in persons with moderate or severe daytime sleepiness. Plus, due to the lack of Oxygen received during sleep, patients have a higher risk for a number of diseases including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Who does this disease effect? I heard it only affected men.
Apnea can affect anyone at any age, including men, women, children and infants. In fact, after a woman goes through menopause, they are at a higher risk of developing OSA. Children are also at risk due to bad sleep hygiene or misdiagnosis such as ADD and ADHD.
I think I may have sleep apnea. What should I do?
Take our free online sleep analysis, print it out, and show it to your physician or other healthcare practitioner.
What is a sleep study, and what can I expect during mine?
Also called a Polysomnogram, a sleep study is a diagnostic test which is performed in a hospital or sleep lab, or home to determine the extent, if any, of a person's sleep disorder.
There are two kinds of sleep studies. The first is an overnight polysomnography test, which involves monitoring brain waves, muscle tension, eye movement, respiration, oxygen level in the blood and audio monitoring (for gasping, snoring, etc). The second is an overnight test as well, but is called a C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) titration study. The Sleep Technologist will apply the same electrodes as the initial study, but you will also be connected to a C-PAP machine. This will monitor your apnea and gently adjust the pressure of the C-PAP in order to eliminate your apnea. Both of these studies are painless and needles are never used. Both tests are covered by Medicare and Medicaid and most private insurance companies.
What if I am diagnosed with Sleep Apnea?
If you do test positive for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), your doctor will refer you once again to a sleep lab (such as Avilys) to have another full nights study with C-PAP. If your C-PAP test is a success, you will be prescribed a C-PAP machine to correct the apnea. This pressure is very specific to each person and can’t be adjusted without a medical consultation.
What is C-PAP?
C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a machine that helps to regulate the flow of air into your nasal passages and trachea (wind pipe) via a mask. This keeps the airway open and unobstructed so that you can sleep throughout the night. If you have more severe sleep apnea, there is also a Bi-Level (Bi-PAP®) machine. The Bi-PAP® machine is different, because it blows air at two different pressures, so that when you inhale, the pressure is higher, and when you exhale, the pressure is lower. These devices are prescribed more in patients suffering from COPD. Your doctor will "prescribe" your pressure settings and a home healthcare company will help set it up and provide training in its use and maintenance.