Dr. Phil Westbrook answered:
Yes, in most cases your primary care physician will be able to diagnose and treat you for sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common chronic disease, but until recently the diagnosis and treatment of patients with even uncomplicated OSA meant seeing a specialist and spending one or more nights in a sleep laboratory. Technology now available to your primary care physician allows him or her to easily evaluate your risk of having sleep apnea and to order a diagnostic test you can have while you sleep in your own bed. The HST system should be simple for you to put on and reasonable comfortable for you to wear. Your doctor's staff can give this to you before you leave the office, or it can be mailed to your home. The home sleep test (HST) will accurately measure your breathing during one or two nights sleep and provide your doctor all the information needed to determine initial treatment if treatment is needed. For moderate to OSA the initial treatment of choice is most often a trial of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The determination of what pressure was needed to treat your OSA used to require that you sleep in a laboratory while a technician adjusted the CPAP to eliminate the airway obstructive events. Automatically adjusting positive pressure devices (APAP) are now available that can record the average level of pressure you need while you are sleeping at home. Your doctor can use this information to prescribe the CPAP you need.
If you are unable or unwilling to use CPAP, then there are other treatment options your own doctor can prescribe. He or she may want you to see a dentist to be fitted with an oral appliance. In certain cases a referral to an ENT surgeon may be indicated. A new treatment just becoming available is nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP), something that is easy and inexpensive to try. Your own doctor can advise you about the risks associated with having OSA and can treat and follow you for associated conditions.
So technology allows primary care physicians to diagnose and manage most patients with OSA. Some patients with complex disease or those who do not respond to treatment will need to see a sleep specialist, but the average patient with OSA can be, and should be, managed by that patient's own doctor.Helpful? 2 people found this helpfulYes, in most cases your primary care physician will be able to diagnose and treat you for sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common chronic disease, but until recently the diagnosis and treatment of patients with even uncomplicated... More