A sleep disorder is a physical condition that keeps you from getting enough sleep and/or negatively impacts your quality of sleep. Sleep disorders are common, frequently unrecognized and usually requires medical treatment.
A breathing pause lasting 10 seconds or more during sleep, when airflow completely or almost completely stops.
A period of breathing while asleep lasting 10 seconds or more when airflow gets shallow but does not completely stop.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
A sleep disorder where breathing pauses during sleep due to inadequate signals from the brain to the breathing muscles. This commonly occurs with heart failure or after a stroke but can also occur as a result of genetic disorders or without any known cause.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The most common kind of sleep apnea. During sleep breathing pauses as a result of narrowing or blocking of the throat. This is usually caused by a combination of a narrow throat, too much tissue within or surrounding the throat and abnormal breathing signals to the muscles in the throat during sleep.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
A type of sleep apnea that begins as a “central” apnea but becomes an “obstructive” apnea over the course of the event.
AHI – Apnea Hypopnea Index
The number of apneas and hypopneas per hour of sleep. This index, as well as measures of oxygen and sleep disruption, are used to determine how severe a patient’s sleep apnea is.
The Severity of OSA’s as defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Task Force (1999) is: AHI < 5 is NORMAL AHI 5 to <= 15 is MILD AHI 15 to <=30 is MODERATE AHI 30 or higher is SEVERE
APAP (Auto-titrating Positive Airway Pressure
APAP therapy provides a variable amount of air pressure that is automatically adjusted (by the machine) to keep the airway open. For example, if a patient needs more pressure when sleeping on the back, the machine will sense this need and automatically increase the pressure.
ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation)
ASV is a highly sophisticated device used to vary airflow or pressure on a breath by breath basis aimed to maintain a certain breathing pattern. It may be used to treat complex sleep apnea or certain kinds of central sleep apnea.
Complex Sleep Apnea
Is characterized by the existence of both “Central” Apneas and “Obstructive” Apneas. This can have multiple causes.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
CPAP therapy provides a constant amount of air pressure to hold the airway open. The goal is to maintain uninterrupted breathing during sleep.
BIPAP (Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure)
This therapy provides positive pressure while a person breathes in and lowers the air pressure when a person breathes out.
During a sleep study, the technician will vary the air pressure during the time of the study to see what pressure level will improve your breathing.
An abrupt change from a “deeper” stage of sleep to a “lighter” stage.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement)
One of the two basic sleep states where there are rapid eye movements, less muscle activity, more irregular heartbeats and heart rate. Dreaming often occurs in this state and this state of sleep is considered important for memory. Sleep apnea can be very severe in this sleep state because of less muscle tone.
An internal biological clock that influences many biological processes including when we sleep.
RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index)
Includes apneas and hypopneas, and may also include other respiratory disturbances such as snoring arousals, hypoventilation episodes, desaturation events, etc.
Sleep Study (Polysomnogram)
An overnight diagnostic test for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. “Poly” refers to the recording of several types of information, including the amount of REM and non-REM sleep, the number of arousals as well as breathing patterns, heart rhythms and limb movement.
Diagnostic Sleep Test
A sleep study done to look for the presence or absence of a sleep disorder. It is done without the use of CPAP.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
This test is to evaluate how often and how quickly a patient falls asleep in quiet situations during the day how quickly REM sleep occurs. It is usually performed following an all-night sleep study and is specifically used to evaluate narcolepsy.
This is an all-night polysomnogram that includes a “diagnostic” phase and a CPAP titration phase, all in one night.
Home Sleep Study
An overnight study done in your home, usually to check for sleep apnea and is focused on collecting a limited amount of information needed to evaluate breathing during sleep.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
This index is a ratio of your height and weight to see if you are at your ideal weight, over or underweight for your gender.
Compliance (Also referred to as "adherence")
A description of how well you are following the therapy recommended for you and typically for sleep apnea, measures the number of hours per night you use CPAP. If you are compliant, then you are using your treatment as prescribed to gain the most benefit. If you are non-compliant, you are not using it for the best benefit. Patients who do not use their CPAP machines regularly may be required by their insurance companies to return their machines.
A type of mask to treat sleep apnea using positive airway pressure. Nasal masks only cover the nose.
These seal against the edge of each nostril rather than going around the entire nose. The pillows open into the nostril but are not inserted inside to seal.
Nasal Pillow Masks (nasal cushions)
These masks rest right under your nostrils and they come with unobtrusive headgear. You insert your nasal pillow mask at the outer edges of your nostrils, rather than over your entire nose It rests right above your upper lip.
A medical device for the mouth that is used when sleeping as an effective treatment option for sleep apnea.
A setting on the CPAP machine where air pressure starts lower than prescribed and slowly increases or ramps until the full therapy pressure is reached.
A small sensor that clips onto your fingertip that shows pulse rate and oxygen saturation.
Refers to air that escapes or leaks from your mask. This can be caused by having the wrong mask size or fitting or because the mask is worn out and needs to be replaced.