A sleep apnea index or apnea hypopnea index (AHI) helps doctors diagnose your severity of sleep apnea and prescribe treatment ... critically important if you require a severe sleep apnea treatment solution.
It is a very simple means of being able to see how many
times a night you are having an apnea episode and for how long the
apnea episode lasts. This index is calculated from the findings during
your sleep test.
There are different ways your doctor may want to establish you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. First he or she may have you use a little meter called the oximeter.
This meter is small in size
and you are able to use it in the comfort of your own home with little
effort. All you do is attach the meter to your finger and lay the rest
of the meter on your nightstand for one night. It is that simple and
when you return the meter to your doctor, he or she will download the
information including your sleep apnea oxygen level and make a
Another option, which you can do from home, is the Remmers Sleep Recorder. This recording device will record your airflow and pressure, heart rate, snoring, respiratory system, sleeping positions, and blood oxygen saturation. The recorder is the best in-home diagnosis tool short of actually going to a sleep lab. This recorder will also show your sleep apnea index.
However, the best and highly regarded means of evaluating your sleep apnea index is by going to a sleep lab and having a full polysomnogram (sleep test) done.
This is preferred due to the fact the
technicians can figure out your AHI (apnea hypopnea index) right away
and determine your severity of obstructive sleep apnea. As always, the
sooner you are diagnosed and receive treatment, the less risk you have
of enduring a severe sleep apnea treatment.
By using the apnea hypopnea index, your doctor will be able to decide if you are suffering from a mild sleep apnea, moderate sleep apnea, or a severe obstructive sleep apnea. The way the AHI works is it gauges the number of apnea and hypopneas you have per hour. By doing this it will let the doctor know what type of sleep apnea, you are suffering from and the severity of it.
In other words, if your AHI is between 10-15 episodes an hour you will be categorized as having a mild sleep apnea case. If your AHI is between 15-30 episodes an hour, you will be categorized as having a moderate sleep apnea case. However, if your AHI is showing you are having 30 or more apnea episodes in an hour, you will be diagnosed with a severe obstructive sleep apnea disorder.
The AHI also determines for how long each apnea episode lasts before you either take in air or start to gasp for air. This concludes that each time you have an apnea episode, during your sleep, you either fully quit breathing for a certain amount of time, or you have a hypopnea which means your breath is so shallow it drops your oxygen saturation levels.
Alerting your doctor to your sleep issues and using the sleep apnea index to evaluate you is a vital part in catching your obstructive sleep apnea early. Remember, letting your doctor know when you first suspect something is wrong, is the key to getting it taken care of with minimal treatment.