Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
Before you head to the doctor to talk about your sleep issues, there are a few self-assessments you can do at home to help you determine your need to get evaluated. After you go through the general concerns, if you answer yes to most of the questions, it is time to seek help. These questions were derived from The Epworth Sleep Apnea test, which was created in 1991 by Dr. Murray Johns. The overall picture derived from the assessment can help to discover your daytime sleepiness and the reason behind it.
- Are you told that you snore loud or very frequently through the night?
- Are you constantly tired throughout the day, even though you think you slept the night before?
- Do you fall asleep at odd times during the day?
- Do you not feel refreshed when you wake up?
- Does your partner tell you that you do not lie still while sleeping?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Does your neck measure more than 17 inches?
- Does anyone in your family have sleep apnea?
- Do you get drowsy while driving?
The Likelihood of Falling Asleep
The next part of the self-assessment has to do with how likely you are to fall asleep during certain situations. If you fall asleep during several of these scenarios, it is best to see your doctor about the possibility of having sleep apnea. Your doctor will need to hear about each scenario and how you are affected in order to give you a correct diagnosis. For each answer, comment whether this rarely, occasionally or frequently happens.
- In a public place where you sit still
- Sitting at home and watching television
- Sitting idle after lunch
- Lying down in the middle of the afternoon
- Having a conversation with someone
- Sitting in the car, at a stop sign or stop light, as the driver
- As a passenger in a car on a ride that totals more than one hour
A Partner’s Evaluation
If you can have your partner evaluate your sleep habits, it could give you and your doctor even more insight into your likelihood of having sleep apnea. Your partner should evaluate your sleep on the following characteristics:
- Type and loudness of snoring
- The frequency that you gasp for breath or seem like you are choking
- The frequency that you toss and turn in your sleep
- The frequency that you fall asleep at inappropriate times
- The difficulty that your partner has sleeping in the same room as you
Each of the answers to the self-assessments tests can help your doctor discover your level of sleep apnea. If you answer the questions honestly and only answer yes to one or two questions, you might not have to see the doctor. However, if you answer yes to many of them or see yourself in many of the above scenarios, seeing your general physician right away is essential to your health and safety. Bring the answers to these questions with you to the doctor so that they can get a full picture of your sleep habits and what you are dealing with on a nightly basis.