Sleep apnea is generally diagnosed by a doctor specializing in sleep disorders by use of an overnight, monitored sleep study.
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There are three things I recommend you do to determine whether you have sleep apnea:
1. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a commonly used form that sleep doctors will ask you to fill out, the results of which will be included on your final sleep test results. However, I find than many of my patients are in denial about how tired they may be. I ask questions like, "Do you fall asleep in front of the TV at night before bedtime?" Most patients, especially men, want to seem strong, and soften their response. I find it better to ask the spouse or sleep partner the same question. For example, I'll ask a patient, "Do you snore?" and the reply is, "Nah, I'm good." Then I'll ask his or her sleep partner, and the answer is "Oh my god, YES!"
2. Ask your dentist. Since patients typically see their dentist more often than their primary care physician, it's a more immediate way to find out. Ask your dentist if you grind your teeth (this is also called bruxism) and whether you have a class two bite (retrognathia). If yes to both, then dig deeper and go see your primary care physician for a referral for sleep study.
3. Download the app (yes, there's an app for everything) Sleep Analyzer (Apple platform only) and follow the instructions. This was recommended to me by a neurologist sleep medicine MD. It will record the sounds you make at night. In the morning when you play back the recording, it plays only the sounds and not the quiet intervals, saving you time. If you have, say, 5 to 15 recording to listen to, you are a sound sleeper with few arousals. If you see 100 to 300 recording for the night, it's time for a more comprehensible study. If you hear snoring and gasping for air on your recordings, it means you may have sleep apnea.
In any case, given all of these methods for determining whether you have sleep apnea or not, there is no substitute for a proper attended sleep study and a visit to your sleep specialist MD. Remember not to take snoring lightly. Sleep apnea is an insidious disease that affects every major system in your body. About 4% of the population has it, but 90% are undiagnosed and hence untreated. Much of what we read in the media is that we are not sleeping as many hours as we should -- it's time to find out how well we sleep and worry less about how long we sleep.