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Sleep Disorder Diagnosis

Sleep disorder diagnosis may require a multi-prong approach. The root of a sleep disorder may be particularly complex because it may cross into different medical disciplines addressing physical, emotional, and psychological issues. A complete medical history begins the process. A sleep test, also known as, Polysomnography is the next step. In fact, over 1 million people had a polysomnogram in 2004 and now the number is suspected to be much more. Still, roughly 30% of laboratories were accredited by the AASM by 2005. What’s tricky is that some sleep disorder symptoms appear similarly and there may be up to 15 root causes. The following are types of diagnostic approaches that have gained popularity over recent years:

• EES, or the Epworth Sleep Sleepiness Scale is an extensive questionnaire designed to determine the severity of sleep apnea and narcolepsy in patients.

• Other questionnaires are also administered to determine the level of daytime drowsiness.

• A sleep journal, log or diary, details the sleeping habits of the patient from his perspective. If there’s a bed partner, that person keeps a companion journal.

• Polysomnography, popularly known as a “sleep study,” in which a patient goes to a sleep clinic or laboratory overnight for monitoring heart, breathing, chest and leg movements, and oxygen levels in the blood.

• An Actigraph Unit is used to verify sleep logs and is worn on the wrist. It uses motion sensors to identify sleep-wake cycles.

• An MSLT, or Multiple Sleep Latency Test, can take place during waking hours following the polysomnography. This test helps to get a better reading on daytime drowsiness and napping habits, and is particularly used to better identify narcoleptic tendencies.

• Imaging Studies. CT scans, ultrasounds, X-rays and other imaging tests may be performed to see the physical components of sleep issues, including obstructions that may cause sleep apnea.

There may be other diagnostic tests that different types of medical professionals rely upon to diagnose and treat sleep disorders. So, it’s appropriate to rely on medical professionals for appropriate diagnostic tests and treatment.

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