The relevance of performing a sleep apnea test

The relevance of performing a sleep apnea test

When one presents a significant state of fatigue during the day, accompanied by headaches, drowsiness and unusual irritability, this may indicate the presence sleep apnea. It is often associated with severe snoring and restless nights, with awakenings accompanied by a feeling of suffocation.

The person sharing the nights of the person who is suspected of suffering from these apneas can also be the witness of these moments of respiratory arrest.

However, it is necessary to confirm such a diagnosis in order to be able to provide the best treatment. Indeed, without proper care, the patient is in danger. The risks are significant because cardiovascular disorders or strokes (cerebrovascular accidents) can occur at any time.

Consult a doctor if sleep apnea is suspected

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The first person authorized to advise you remains your doctor. It has the advantage of knowing your medical background, and therefore better understanding the risks and your health needs. He will be able to reassure you or refer you to the appropriate specialists to take stock of your general condition. He will be able to confirm or invalidate your first suspicions as to the presence of sleep apnea.

Questionnaires to assess the existence of sleep apnea

Before proceeding to a more in-depth examination through the use of devices, questionnaires were put in place in order to assess the existence and thedegree of sleep apnea.

The first of these is the Berlin questionnaire which consists of 11 questions aimed at determining therisks of sleep apnea . Factors such as weight, nighttime snoring, daytime fatigue, and high blood pressure are included.

Another test is available, called NoSAS. This simpler and more rudimentary test consists of a calculation of points which determines the probability of sleep apnea. Six Factors are thus taken into account: neck circumference, two levels of body mass index, existence of snoring during sleep, age below or above 55 years, and sex. Each of these questions corresponds to points which are awarded. The more points you get, the greater the likelihood of sleep apnea.

Another index is sleepiness, which can be determined by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. It aims to question the different circumstances during which a state of drowsiness can appear. This is a series of eight questions with four response levels, ranging from “it is excluded” to “it is systematic”.

Polysomnographic and ventilatory polygraphic examinations

If a suspicion of sleep apnea is revealed by the various questionnaires, it will then have to be confirmed or invalidated by in-depth examinations.

The primary and arguably most comprehensive examination is the polysomnographic sleep examination. It is carried out during a sleep period of at least six hours. Its purpose is to record various physiological data. First of all, sensors will detect brain activity via an electroencephalogram. An electromyogram will be responsible for identifying the movements of the chin, and an electro-oculogram will perform the same operation with the movements of the eyeball. These three data are intended to calculate the different stages of sleep.

These tools are associated with an electrocardiogram as well as monitoring of respiration and blood oxygenation.

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To confirm sleep apnea, one can complete the first examination with the ventilatory polygraph examination. The latter will capture the heart rate, breathing and the level of oxygenation in the blood.

It is only once the diagnosis has been fully established that it can then be decided to set up a treatment protocol.

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