Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"How do I know if my sleep apnea diagnosis is definitive? "

ZocdocAnswersHow do I know if my sleep apnea diagnosis is definitive?


I want to know if I am diagnosed with sleep apnea if this is a black and white issue or if there is some gray area. I will be disqualified from being bone marrow donor for someone who needs it if I have sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea is a diagnosis that has a couple of different possible causes. By far the most common cause of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when tissue within the throat relaxes during sleep and causes an obstruction in the airway. It typically occurs in people with larger necks sizes. Snoring occurs when air moves through this obstructed region and therefore sometimes snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Another type of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea occurs when the brain's respiratory center become less sensitive to blood carbon dioxide content during sleep. This type of more rare, and more difficult to diagnose. Both types of sleep apnea can be detected during a sleep study. A sleep study can also be called polysomnography. This study is the only study that can confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea as it will detect the periods of time when you stop breathing. I should also add that I would be shocked if they disqualified you from being a bone marrow donor just for sleep apnea. Nevertheless, you should schedule an appointment with a sleep medicine specialist to get this sorted out. He or she can perform the sleep study and tell you for sure whether or not you have sleep apnea. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.