Why should a person get tested for sleep apnea?

This question was asked in New Baden, Illinois on 04/23/2012.
This is for my husband. I am concerned that he might have sleep apnea. He has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as a high-pressure job. I am becoming increasingly concerned as the sleep apnea incidents seem to happen more frequently and more severely. He is reluctant to be tested at a sleep center, in part due to the fact that we also have a poor health insurance. Please help ASAP. Thank you.

Doctors Answers (4)

Terry M. Himes, DO
Answered on: 4/24/2012

Yes, we can help! First, if I might suggest you going to our website: www.sleepcenterotr.com. Please have your husband fill out the "Complimentary Consult Survey" located in the top left-hand side of the Sleep Center home page. This survey will identify with a high probability if your husband likely has sleep apnea. If this survey is positive, we will provide him a complimentary consult with one of our Sleep Staff Physicians. During this consult, your husband will be given options he can choose or not to pursue. I would also suggest his reading about sleep apnea on our sleep disorders page. This will also inform him of issues he may not be aware of with his health, including fatigue, snoring, high blood pressure, and being drowsy during the afternoons. Sleep Apnea is serious and should be taken as such. We do have programs for people with high deductible insurance coverage, and no insurance coverage. So, depending on your family's situation, I'm sure we can find a solution to help meet your budget.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 4/24/2012

A person should be tested for sleep apnea if there are even two of the following: 1. Snoring 2. Witnessed Sleep Apnea 3. High Blood Pressure 4. Daytime Sleepiness 5. Night Time Urination. Sleep apnea not only leads to poor daytime performance including memory loss but also aggravates many medical disorders such as diabetes. The elevated blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart disease. Some Sleep Centers will work out a payment plan. Home testing is less expensive although not as accurate as testing in a sleep lab. However, a home test and then starting treatment for the sleep apnea is better than not doing anything.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 4/24/2012

If you have witnessed your husband repeatedly stop breathing during sleep, and he also hypertension and elevated cholesterol, then a sleep evaluation should definitely be pursued. This would put him at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and developing diabetes if it were to go untreated. If he could see a sleep specialist then a home sleep study could potentially be ordered for 2-3 nights to assess any significant sleep disordered breathing. If the study was found to be positive then an autotitration CPAP or BIPAP could then be ordered to help optimize his necessary treatment pressure. You could then rent the equipment to use nightly and follow up with a sleep specialist to ensure compliance and adequate treatment.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 4/24/2012

Untreated Sleep Apnea can increase risk of heart attack or stroke. Your husband should be evaluated by a sleep physician who can explain the potential risks. We can provide financial assistance to help defray some of the costs.