For millions of people around the world who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, they may have a diagnosis thanks in no small part to a concerned partner or roommate who cannot help but overhear them snoring or stopping and restarting breathing as they sleep. But for many others who live alone, this type of intervention may not be possible. So, how can you be diagnosed with this debilitating condition if there’s nobody there to advocate for you in your sleep?
This is where the STOPBANG test comes in. You may have never heard of STOPBANG before, but this test could very possibly save your life. Here’s what you should know about the STOPBANG test.
The STOPBANG test stands for Snore, Tired, Obstruction, Pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), Age, Neck, Gender. These individual factors combined can help define your risk for having sleep apnea, and indicate whether or not you should be tested for the condition. Here’s a little more about what they mean:
Do you snore? This may be the hardest to tell on your own, but if you’ve ever been told you snore or believe you might, this is a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.
Do you feel tired even after you’ve slept all night? Do you feel lethargic or depressed throughout the day? These are also signs of sleep apnea that should not be ignored.
Do you stop and restart breathing as you sleep? Has anyone ever noticed you doing this and told you about it? Do you suspect this could be occurring?
Are you being treated for or have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Is your BMI over 30 or has your doctor told you that you are considered obese?
Are you over 50 years of age?
Is the circumference of your neck over 16 inches in women, or over 17 inches in men?
Are you male?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you are at an elevated risk of sleep apnea, and should speak to your doctor about getting a sleep evaluation to confirm or rule out sleep apnea.
If you are diagnosed with OSA, the good news is that there are treatment options available, including sleep orthotics from Dr. Mingus. These comfortable to wear devices position your airway open so that you can breathe easily and without obstruction while you sleep. They are not just comfortable, they also clean up easily and are custom fit to your individual mouth. No awkward CPAP machines or uncomfortable boil and bite devices.
To learn more about sleep apnea and your treatment options, contact Dr. Mingus at 541-382-6565.