Patient Education

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know if I may have a sleep disorder?
    If you answer “Yes” to 3 or more of the statements below, you show symptoms associated with sleep apnea and may need further testing
    • I have been told that I snore.
    • I have been told that I stop breathing while I sleep
    • I have gained weight.
    • I suffer from high blood pressure.
    • I feel fatigued during the day.
    • I suffer from morning headaches.
    • I have lost interest in sex.
    • I sweat excessively during the night.
    • I suddenly wake up, unable to breathe
    • My family and friends say that they have noticed a change in my personality.
  2. What causes sleep apnea?
    During sleep the muscles at the back of the throat relax, in everybody. In some people the muscles relax so much that the wall of the throat collapses. As the person tries to breathe, no air can get in. Eventually the effort of breathing wakes him up for a short time, and this may happen over and over. This describes obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. The person is not aware of waking frequently to breathe, but even mild sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, poor memory and concentration, and depression.
  3. How can I treat my snoring or sleep apnea?
    Most people who snore should lose weight, stop smoking, and stop alcohol intake. Losing weight, 10%-15% of body weight, usually improves a person's sleep apnea very significantly. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the treatment we usually recommend for people with sleep apnea. Surgery usually is done for people with sleep apnea, only after other treatments have failed.
  4. What is a polysomnogram?
    A polysomnogram, or sleep study, is a continuous recording of selected body functions during sleep. The test also records brain waves, eye movements, and muscle tone, which together determine the sleep stages. Heart rate and rhythm sleep movements, and snoring sounds are also monitored. For possible sleep apnea, we record breathing and oxygen level. Additional polysomnographic measurements can be made in people with other suspected disorders.
  5. Who can I contact if I think I need a sleep study?
    Your Primary Care physician can order a sleep study for you or refer you to a physician who is a sleep specialist. Insurance authorization for the test normally takes 1-2 weeks. For information on physician referrals, feel free to call the Sleep Diagnostic Center at 770-909-2638.
  1. What is the location of Sleep Diagnostic Center at Southern Regional Medical Center?
    The address is: 11 Upper Riverdale Road, Riverdale, GA 30274. The Sleep Diagnostic Center is located at Suite 100 of the 33 Building (connected to the main hospital).
  2. What time does a sleep study begin and end?
    A typical sleep study begins at 9:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 a.m.
  3. What sensors are applied during the recording?
    Sensors are applied to the scalp and skin. Blood oxygen is monitored using a cushioned clip that is kept on a finger throughout sleep. Respiration is monitored by using a thin sensor placed between the nose and upper lip. Breathing effort is recorded using belts placed around the chest and abdomen.
  4. Will the recording be painful?
    No. If you have sensitive skin, you may notice mild skin irritation from electrode paste or adhesive. No needles are used during a sleep study.
  5. Who will be present in the laboratory while I am sleeping?
    A trained sleep technologist will monitor your sleep from an adjacent control room, while you sleep in a private room.
  6. What happens to my sleep recording after the test is finished?
    A qualified sleep technologist will score your test data, and a physician who is Board-certified in Sleep Medicine will review and interpret the results. The results and any resulting diagnosis will be forwarded to your physician, usually within 3-4 days after your study is completed. If needed, you may have a follow-up visit to the Sleep Diagnostic Center.

For more information about our Sleep Diagnostic Center and find out how you can schedule a sleep study, call 770-909-2638.