Diagnosing Sleep Apnea: What It Is and What You Can Do


Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep issue impacting millions globally. This condition involves interruptions in breathing while asleep, potentially causing various health concerns. If you think you may have sleep apnea, seeking medical help and possibly undergoing a sleep study to identify the problem and appropriate treatment is crucial.

What Is Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea is a condition that disrupts one’s breathing while asleep. It can happen numerous times throughout the night and can result in various health issues. This disorder has two main types: obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common type. This happens when the muscles at the throat’s back are unable to keep the airway open during sleep, leading to loud snoring, choking, and gasping for air while asleep.

Meanwhile, central sleep apnea is less common. It happens when the brain can’t send the signals needed to breathe during sleep, resulting in pauses in breathing and a feeling of shortness of breath upon waking up.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea can vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Feeling excessively sleepy during the day
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Depression

What Is a Sleep Study

A sleep study, or polysomnography, is an examination utilised for identifying sleep issues. The process involves spending the night either in a specialised sleep center or at your own residence with a mobile monitoring device. While you sleep, the monitoring device will record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, breathing patterns, and other important information.

The test results can help your doctor diagnose sleep disorders and determine the best course of treatment. In certain instances, a sleep study might also be used to track the success of sleep disorder therapies.

Should I Have a Sleep Study

If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, consult a medical professional and think about undergoing a sleep study. Sleep apnea can cause various health issues, such as hypertension, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and depression. Additionally, it can raise the chances of accidents because of extreme drowsiness during the daytime.

In addition, sleep apnea can have a significant impact on your quality of life. It can lead to lowered efficiency at work, relationship problems, and a reduced ability to enjoy leisure activities.

Should you encounter any of the mentioned signs, consult your doctor for advice. They can direct you to a sleep expert who can conduct an examination of your sleep patterns and identify the issue.

What Happens During a Sleep Study

You will spend the night in a sleep lab or at home with a portable monitoring device. The monitoring device will record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, breathing patterns, and other important information while you sleep.

In a sleep lab, you will sleep in a comfortable private room with a bed, pillows, and blankets. There is also a bathroom and other amenities that you can access.

During the sleep study, a technician will be monitoring you from a separate room. If you need assistance during the night, you can call the technician for help.

In certain cases, the professionals might ask you to participate in a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) the next day. This will measure how quickly you fall asleep during the day and can help diagnose conditions such as narcolepsy.


Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can have serious health consequences. If you suspect that you have the disorder, seek medical attention and consider having a sleep study. A sleep study can help diagnose the condition and determine the best course of treatment. Don’t suffer in silence, and talk to your doctor today about your sleep concerns.

Improve your sleep health today by scheduling a consultation with Lethbridge Snoring & Sleep Apnea Clinic. Our sleep test services can help identify underlying conditions and develop a personalised treatment plan for you. Contact us now and take the first step towards better sleep.

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