Loud snoring can be a warning sign of more serious breathing disorders, such as upper airway resistance syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.

Because many serious health problems and even death are linked to sleep apnea, clinicians like to know whether or not their patient has any degree of sleep apnea before they recommend a treatment plan. Sleep apnea is a chronic disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure. A sleep test will tell the doctor how bad your apnea is. You and the doctor can then make decisions on how best to treat your problem.

If you suffer from any of the following, you may want to get tested for sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Chronic sleepiness during the day
  • High blood pressure

Identifying and treating apnea early is one way to improve your health and get the rest you need.

Simple Screening and Testing Options

There are several types of tests used to diagnose sleep apnea.

Simple Screening

There are two questionnaires that can determine how sleepy you are and can help your doctor determine how likely it is that you have sleep apnea – The Epworth Sleepiness Scale[a1]  and The Adjusted Neck Circumference*. These tests are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to provide a diagnosis or replace advice from a medical doctor. They are validated screening tests for you to use to prompt a discussion with your doctor about the possibility of having a sleep disordered breathing problem.

 *Airway Management assumes no liability for outcomes of these tests. You, by taking these tests, assume all responsibility contained herein. If you have any questions or think you have sleep apnea, contact a qualified health care provider.

Testing Options

There are two types of tests used to diagnose sleep apnea. For years, the standard diagnostic tool has been a lab-based sleep study called a polysomnogram or PSG. New technologies have been developed that are equally as if not more effective as lab-based sleep studies. They are home-based sleep study where the patent can be tested in the comfort of their own home.

Lab-based sleep study (Polysomnogram)
When you go to a sleep lab for a polysomnogram (PSG) test, you spend the night at the facility. Before you go to sleep, a technician will hook you up to a variety of wires that will monitor different body and brain functions over the course of the night.

A PSG may be advised if the patient has other diseases such as congestive heart failure of another sleep disorder, like narcolepsy or REM behavior disorder which are unrelated to sleep disordered breathing.

Home based sleep study
When a patient has a snoring or sleep apnea problem, home-based sleep studies are often a more convenient way to evaluate the problem, especially if the doctor thinks you have sleep disordered breathing. The patient takes a testing device home and conducts the test in his or her own bed.

Home-based sleep studies always measure the oxygen level in the blood and the heart function through a pulse oximeter. Some devices measure additional body functions such as amount of airflow, amount of snoring and body position.

Some doctors prefer to use home-based tests because they feel that they get better information about their patients sleep problems because they are being tested in their own sleeping environment.


How a Diagnosis Is Made

An overnight sleep test measures different body and brain functions when you are sleeping.

To make a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, the doctor must evaluate how much oxygen is in your blood over the course of the night. If the amount of oxygen in the blood falls beneath certain levels, the doctor will know how severe the problem is and if you have airway resistance or sleep apnea.

Both lab-based and home-based sleep tests monitor more than just blood oxygen levels. Although this extra information is nice to have, it is not absolutely necessary to make a diagnosis and treatment decision.