It’s common for people with sleep apnea to go many years before ever getting a diagnosis of the disorder from their doctor. It generally goes undiagnosed because people learn to live with their tiredness. But once a correct diagnosis is made – typically after a sleep study – the physician can prescribe a CPAP machine, which allows the patient to achieve less sleep-time breathing difficulties.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are daytime sleepiness and impaired alertness. Yet there are many possible reasons for these symptoms, and most people never think they may have a condition that can easily be treated with a CPAP machine. Most don’t see a doctor until the symptoms are so bad or they are forced by a bed partner that they have little other choice.
Various types of physicians are qualified to diagnose sleep apnea including lung and nerve specialists; ear, nose and throat specialists; and doctors who specialize in sleep disorders. They can all prescribe a CPAP machine for their patients.
In determining that a patient has sleep apnea, a doctor will take down the family history and the patient’s personal medical history. The doctor will listen to the symptoms and learn about their severity. The afflicted also will take a simple “sleepiness” test which helps to narrow the potential outcomes and rule out other conditions that can cause the same symptoms. In most cases, before an accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea can be made and a CPAP machine ordered, a sleep study will take place.
Sleep studies, usually performed in a facility that specializes in the procedure, involve having your sleep monitored throughout the night by trained technicians who determine how many (if any) apneic events (stoppage of breathing) occur. Some sleep apnea patients, prior to using a CPAP machine, experience hundreds of these events every night.
If the sleep study shows that you’re ceasing to breathe as you sleep, your physician will diagnose sleep apnea and prescribe CPAP therapy including a CPAP machine and CPAP mask. This technology helps the sleep apnea patient by providing continuous positive airway pressure, thus the acronym CPAP. Doctors understand there are few alternatives, so the CPAP machine is, in most cases, the preferred mode of treatment.
Various types of CPAP machines are available for sleep apnea patients. They are light and easy to use, and some models are capable of recording important information for physicians to read which will help them understand the details during a patient’s sleep.
The CPAP Shop carries a full line of CPAP machines for those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Only a physician can prescribe a CPAP machine, so please see your doctor if you believe you have symptoms that are the result of this specific sleep disorder.