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Do I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, there are approximately 22 million Americans with obstructive sleep apnea.1 Shockingly, of those 22 million, 80-90% remain undiagnosed! Obstructive sleep apnea is slightly more common in men than women. It is most common in middle aged and older adults. Overweight and obese people are more predisposed to OSA.

It is also estimated that in middle age as many as 9% of women and 24% of men were affected, undiagnosed and untreated. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments.
A major symptom is extremely loud snoring, sometimes so loud that bed partners find it intolerable. Other indications that sleep apnea may be present are obesity, persistent daytime sleepiness, bouts of awakening out of breath during the night, and frequently waking in the morning with a dry mouth or a headache. Only a sleep study, performed in a sleep laboratory or a home sleep study, can give a true diagnosis.

Six questions to evaluate yourself for sleep apnea

These questions can help you, Dr. Schwedfeger and your physician figure out if you should be tested for sleep apnea. Circle your answers, tally up the points next to them, and see what the total means in the Scoring section.

1. Do you snore more than three nights a week?
Yes (2 points) No (0 points) _____

2. Is your snoring loud (can it be heard through a door or wall)?
Yes (2 points) No (0 points) _____

3. Has anyone told ever told you that you briefly stop breathing or gasp when you are asleep?
Never(0 points) Occasionally(3 points) Frequently(5 points) _____

4. What is your collar size?
Men: less than 17 inches (0 points) , 17 inches or greater (5 points)
Women: less than 16 inches (0 points), 16 inches or greater (5 Points) _____

5. Have you had high blood pressure? Or are being treated for it?
Yes (2 points) No (0 points) _____

6. Do you ever doze or fall asleep during the day when: You are not busy or active?
Yes(2 points) No (0 points): When: you are driving or stopped at a light?
Yes (2 points) No (0 points) _____

TOTAL _____

– 9 points or more: You are a good candidate for a sleep study.
– 6–8 points: It’s uncertain whether you have sleep apnea; you and your doctor should decide the next step based on other pieces of your medical history.
– 5 points or fewer: Low probability of sleep apnea.

1 American Sleep Apnea Association. 2014.

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