Polysomnogram Test | Sleep Apnea Test | Complications of Sleep Apnea

Polysomnogram – Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Polysomnogram Test

Polysomnogram (PSG) is a test used to diagnose sleep apnea.

During the polysomnogram test, a variety of body functions, such as the electrical activity of the brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels are recorded at night during sleep.

After the polysomnogram study is completed, the number of times breathing is impaired during sleep is tallied and the severity of sleep apnea is graded.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test

In some cases, a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) is performed on the day after the overnight test to measure the speed of falling asleep. In this test, patients are given several opportunities to fall asleep during the course of a day when they normally would be awake.

At-Home Sleep Apnea Test

To diagnose sleep apnea, a portable test, which can be conducted at home, has been approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The portable monitoring can be used as an alternative to polysomnogram for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea.

The home tests are portable devices that are composed of a recording device, belts, sensors and other cables. The patient has to wear the device overnight. The data gathered overnight has to be reviewed by sleep specialist and thereby diagnosis and treatment plan has to be developed.

For adults aged above 18 to 65, this test is recommended and the sleep practitioner has to certify whether the person can take the test or not.

Some of the ways to help doctors diagnose sleep apnea include:

  • A medical history that includes asking you and your family questions about how you sleep and how you function during the day
  • Checking your mouth, nose, and throat for extra or large tissues, for example tonsils, uvula (the tissue that hangs from the middle of the back of the mouth), and soft palate (roof of your mouth in the back of your throat)
  • A sleep recording of what happens with your breathing.

Complications of Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition.

Complications may include:

  • Due to the repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea, people often experience daytime sleepiness, irritability and fatigue. They may have difficulty in concentrating on day to day works.
  • Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. About half of people with sleep apnea develop high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart failure and stroke. If there's underlying heart disease, these recurring multiple episodes of low blood oxygen can lead to sudden death from a cardiac event.
  • Due to loud snoring, your partners may sleep in another room which can disturb your relationships.
  • People with sleep apnea experience complications following major surgery because they are prone to breathing problems.
  • People with obstructive and central sleep apneas may also complain of mood swings or feelings of depression, memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression, and impotence. Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) may be more common in people with sleep apnea. Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


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