Warning Signs

Although most people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed, they often notice the warning signs long before they get a positive diagnosis. Some warning signs you might notice include:

  • Waking up unrested from a full night’s sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Dozing off during the day
  • Irritation or moodiness
  • Loss of motivation or focus
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain

All of these are symptoms (though it’s not a comprehensive list). But many distinct signs of sleep apnea won’t be noticed by you, but by your sleep partner, who might tell you about:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or choking noise
  • Stops in breathing
  • Restless sleep
  • Clenching teeth

Other times, you might get a warning from a doctor who diagnoses you with related conditions or common misdiagnoses. As with TMJ, doctors often misdiagnose or overlook sleep apnea. Instead, you might be diagnosed with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Low testosterone
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression

You might have these conditions, but in some cases, the symptoms actually indicate sleep apnea. 

Sleep Apnea Screening

If you recognize several of the warning signs above, you should screen yourself for sleep apnea (or talk to your doctor about a screening). On our website, we use the Harvard Sleep Questionnaire as a screening tool. 

A screening tool tells you if you are at risk for sleep apnea. If you are, then you should be tested to get a positive diagnosis. 

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

There is one way to diagnose sleep apnea: a sleep test, also called a sleep study or polysomnography. That’s because the sleep test measures many aspects of your body’s function during sleep. This may include breathing, heart function, oxygen saturation, brain function, and more. 

For many people, a home sleep test is recommended. This is less expensive and more comfortable, and it works just as well in most cases. 

You might not be able to get a home sleep test if you have:

  • Other sleep conditions
  • Lung disease
  • Prior heart failure
  • Suspicion of central sleep apnea

In that case, you might have to visit a sleep lab for a more detailed test. 

Whether you have a sleep test at home or at the sleep lab, your results will be reviewed by a doctor. They will then diagnose your sleep apnea. 

Successful Sleep Apnea Diagnosis in Fort Atkinson

If you think you might have sleep apnea and want help getting a positive diagnosis as well as comfortable, effective sleep apnea treatment, please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Stafford at Bite Align in Fort Atkinson.