Sleep Studies: Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Tustin, Orange, Santa Ana & Other Areas of Orange County

To determine if a person has sleep apnea, a sleep study is performed. There are two types of sleep studies available: One is called a polysomnogram, or PSG, and is a comprehensive overnight test performed at an accredited sleep center. A second option is an overnight study you can take home, also known as a portable sleep monitor, to evaluate the quality of your sleep in the comfort of your own home.

Both types of sleep studies offer distinct advantages. To discuss which choice is best for you, please call (714) 385-1672 to arrange a consultation with Dr. Joseph Henry.

Benefits of a PSG

The major advantage of a PSG in an accredited sleep center is the amount of comprehensive data that is collected.  This data includes monitoring brain waves to actually record the various stages of sleep, oxygen levels in the bloodstream, airflow from the nose and mouth, sleep position, and pulse rate. Most sleep centers also make an effort to create a private bedroom surrounding for the overnight study.

In addition to obstructive sleep apnea, a number of other sleep disorders can be diagnosed with the additional data available from a PSG.

Benefits of a Portable Sleep Monitor

The major advantage of a take home sleep study is being able to complete the test in the comfort of your own bedroom. This allows the patient to more closely stick to their evening bedtime routine.

Portable sleep monitoring at home still measures the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, pulse rate, respiratory effort, sleeping position, and airflow when breathing. There are fewer wires and sensors attached to a portable monitor than you will find with a PSG.

What If I Am Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea can be made from a portable home monitor or a PSG. Significant information from either type of sleep study includes how many times a person stops breathing an hour along with the associated drop of oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Both will also reveal how much a person’s heart rate increases with each event and if the sleep apnea is positional, meaning it varies in severity depending on your body's position, for example sleeping on your back or side. 

A person with severe sleep apnea can stop breathing more than 30 times an hour putting them at risk for serious long term health conditions. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, dementia, obesity, erectile dysfunction, depression, excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as motor vehicle accidents.

Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include an oral device to open the airway while sleeping, or a CPAP machine.

If you have questions or believe you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, please email Orange County dentist Dr. Joseph Henry or call us at (714) 385-1672 to schedule a complimentary consultation about the PSG or home portable monitor sleep test.