When it comes to sleep apnea testing a lot of factors are taken into consideration when analyzing your results. For example, your Apnea Hypopnea Index is a major indicator of how severe your sleep disorder is.
While a qualified clinician analyzes your sleep apnea test results your AHI score will reveal a lot about your condition and help determine your treatment options. The most common and effective option includes the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.
Understanding Your Apnea Hypopnea Index
To be specific, when you take a sleep apnea test your AHI will be recorded, which is the number of apnea or hypopnea events you experience during an hour will determine your sleep disorder severity. A hypopnea is a period of abnormally slow or shallow breathing, while apneas are periods of no breathing and both can have extreme effects on your health.
For an apnea to be a significant hypopnea event there will be a cessation of airflow at the level of your nostrils and mouth for at least 10 seconds or longer, or there will be an 80% to 100% reduction in your airflow signal, causing stress to your body. The following apnea hypopnea index scale can help you determine your personal score and what it means.
- If you have fewer than five AHI events per hour that is considered to be a minimal amount. This is considered normal.
- A mild sleep apnea AHI score includes more than 5 events per hour but less than 15.
- You may be moderately affected by sleep apnea if your AHI index is greater than 15 events per hour but less than 30.
- A severe sleep apnea AHI includes having 30 or more events per hour.
Along with your apnea AHI your oxygen desaturation may be recorded. Your Oxygen desaturation index (ODI) determines when and by how much your oxygen level drops in your blood during sleep.
This information is captured by placing an oximeter or measuring device on your fingertip. It shines a red light on your skin to estimate how much oxygen is in your peripheral blood. Major desaturations or oxygen drops are usually caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) when the upper airway is blocked or collapses. Normal blood oxygen saturation levels are around 96% percent and anything between 89% to 95% is severe, while a reduction below 80% is severe.
Another important factor that is often recorded is your respiratory disturbance index (RDI). It is similar to the AHI sleep apnea index as it measures respiratory events during sleep as well as respiratory-effort related arousals (RERAs).
RERAs are defined as an increased effort to breathe. As your body suffers from an apnea it will will fight for oxygen by making your chest palpate or your nostrils flare. You may not wake up during these activities, but they prevent you from getting proper rest and can lead to excessive daytime fatigue.
Why Discovering Your AHI Score Matters
Your sleep apnea hypopnea index matters because it tells you exactly how much you are affected by the deadly sleep apnea condition. Most sleep apnea side effects such as waking up with a headache, excessive fatigue, weight gain, waking up coughing or choking, and much more go unnoticed.
This is dangerous because when left untreated sleep apnea can contribute to a variety of life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, traffic accidents, and more.
However, getting a sleep apnea test and receiving your apnea hypopnea score to determine your severity is easy. Instead of paying a doctor for a lengthy overnight test, you can have your own at home test sent directly to your door.
After using the test for one night simply return it, so a qualified clinician can analyze your results. Based on your scores, including your apnea hypopnea index, you will know if you need to seek the next easy steps towards seeking treatment or not.
A CPAP device and supplies can be shipped directly to your home, just as easily as the test. By managing sleep apnea you will quickly discover that you have your quality of life back, with freedom from fatigue.