Monday, November 2, 2009

The Sleep Study: One Test You Don’t Need to Cram For

Do you snore loudly? Feel tired all day? Wish you could wake up without a headache?

These are common signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a potentially fatal disease and should be diagnosed at an accredited sleep center using a sleep study, or polysomnography (PSG).

During the study, a technician will attach two dozen electrodes, small metal disks, to your body. These electrodes monitor your brain waves, muscles movements, eye movements, breathing, snoring, heart rate, leg movements, and oxygen levels.

The sleep technician will stay awake all night to monitor your sleep and safety.

Most rooms at a sleep center are homey and comfortable, like a hotel room. They are designed to help you fall asleep quickly. And don’t worry - you can sleep in your normal position and change positions throughout the night.

Sleep studies determine Apnea-Hypopnea Indexes (AHI). An AHI is the average number of apneas (complete breaks in breathing) and hypopneas (partial breaks in breathing) that occur per hour of sleep.

Different AHI indicate different levels of sleep apnea:

  • Mild OSA: AHI of 5-15
  • Moderate OSA: AHI of 15-30
  • Severe OSA: AHI of more than 30

If you do have OSA, there are several treatment options: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), upper airway surgery, behavior modification, and oral appliance therapy (OAT).

OAT is a safe and effective option for OSA patients who do not tolerate or comply with CPAP, the standard treatment therapy.

Oral appliances look like mouth guards and are fitted by qualified dentists.

Every OSA patient has specific needs. Dentists are trained to select which appliances are right for their patients and adjust these devices for the best results.

Find-a-dentist who treats OSA near you!

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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.