Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are many signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), including:

· Excessive daytime sleepiness
· Snoring: intermittent with pauses
· Awakenings with gasping, snorting or choking
· Morning Headaches
· Fragmented, non-refreshing sleep
· Decreased sex drive
· Mood and behavioral problems; irritability

OSA is a serious medical condition. It should be diagnosed at an accredited sleep center by a sleep physician.

If you are diagnosed with OSA, your sleep physician may recommend using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or an oral appliance to help you breathe while you sleep.

Behavior modification, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, or sleeping on your side, can also help decrease the severity of OSA.

The below test can help you see if you have a problem with daytime sleepiness. A score of nine or above on this test is an indication that you should see your doctor.

It is also a good idea to see you physician for advice if you snore, have been told that you awake gasping for breath, or if you fight to stay awake during the day.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale

How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations?
Choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = would never doze

1 = slight chance of dozing

2 = moderate chance of dozing

3 = high chance of dozing


Sitting and Reading _____

Watching TV _____

Sitting, inactive in a public place (theater, meeting, etc.) _____

As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break _____

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit _____

Sitting and talking to someone _____

Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol _____

In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic _____

Total _____

Please feel free to print this test, fill it out and take with you to your physician.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.