Home / Diagnosing Sleep Apnea


Home Sleep Test DeviceTo determine how often and how long you stop breathing during sleep, you will need to undergo an overnight sleep study known as a polysomnogram (PSG). In the past, these studies were performed only at hospitals or sleep laboratories. Now, it is possible to have the study done at home, using portable testing equipment that is provided by a sleep medicine professional. Home testing provides all the information needed to create an accurate picture of an OSA condition. As a result, sleep lab testing is now required only when there may be complicating conditions, or when checking for a rarer form of central-nervous sleep apnea.

A sleep test measures the number of times a person’s breathing becomes shallow during sleep—this is known as a hypopnea—or the number of times a person stops breathing for a period of 10 seconds or more—this is known as an apnea. The total number of hypopnea and apnea events a sleeper experiences per hour becomes their apnea-hypopnea index or AHI. An AHI score of 20, for example, would indicate that the sleeper experiences an average of 20 apnea interruptions per hour during sleep.

AHI scores are placed into three categories:

  • An AHI score of less than 15 is considered “mild.”
  • 15 to 30 is considered “moderate.”
  • AHI of 30 or above is classified as “severe.”
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