Frequently, the diagnoses obstructive sleep apnea is done by a dentist that is trained to understand these manifestations.
At my clinic, as part of the general check-up that every patient receives an appropriate medical inquiry is made to understand whether a patient may be in a high risk group for developing obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
These are signs that are likely to arouse suspicion that you are in a high-risk group for breathing disturbances during sleep:
- More men than women suffer from it
- Individuals with a high BMI (Body mass index)
- People over 40 years of age
- Enlarged tonsils
- Enlarged tongue
- Deviated septum dividing the nasal passage
- Neck circumference greater than 40 cm.
- Tendency to snore
- Reflux during sleep
In addition, a number of other crucial issues are checked for in order to indicate any circumstances or suspicion for obstructive sleep apnea:
- Testing the jaw joint and checking for evidence of teeth grinding— many times people that suffer from this phenomena also suffer from night bruxism
- Examining the anatomy of the opening of the air passage (pharynx), in the event that the opening of the air passage is narrower than usual —- here also, is reason to suspect a tendency toward obstructive sleep apnea.
These findings will be taken into account together with a basic, comprehensive medical inquiry. In the event there is concern about the existence of obstructive sleep apnea, the patient will be referred to the family doctor for further investigation at a sleep clinic.
The diagnosis and degree of severity of the disease are determined only by results of testing at a sleep clinic at which the muscle movements during breathing are recorded, heart rate, EEG, eye movements and oxygen saturation in the blood during the subject’s sleep at the clinic.
There are devices for performing a home- check. However, it is advised not to rely on those results alone but rather go to a sleep clinic to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
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