A Sleep Physician is a Medical Specialist Doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating patients with Sleep Apnea and other sleep disorders.
An initial consultation with our Sleep Specialists involves:
1) a comprehensive sleep disorders history, identifying key diagnostic features relevant to a range of sleep disorders from sleep apnoea (obstructive or central), to insomnia to other causes of excessive daytIme sleepiness.
2) a broader medical history, including the medications you take, to identify other contributors to your sleep symptoms, such a heart disease, depression or other mental health conditions, CNS active medications, alcohol, etc.
3) a physical examination of the upper airway, including rhinoscopy (an endoscope camera assessment of the nose, throat and tongue base area) to identify important areas of upper airway narrowing relevant to breathing disorders in sleep. The physical examination assessment will also include height, weight and BMI measurements and measurements for respiratory disease which may affect breathing and oxygenation in sleep.
4) a discussion of probable sleep diagnoses and how they may releate to your symptoms and health. The diagnoses might include sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, narcolepsy, etc. Importantly, there are dozens of different sleep disorders and often a patients sleep conditon may not simply be due to obstructive sleep apnoea.
5) a discussion of investigations required or further testing. This might include a laboratory or home based sleep study - the pros and cons of each type of test will be discussed and the most appropriate test for your condition will be chosen and booked.
6) a discussion of possible treatment solutions depending on investigations.
It is important to understand that to accurately diagnose and manage your sleep condition the above assessment is required. Completing a sleep study is only a small part of the diagnostic and management process. Sleep studies at times identify conditions that are not relevent to your symptoms or over and under diagnose some sleep conditions. As in all aspects of medicine, a test alone is not sufficient to manage a patient. Hence the broader Sleep Specialist approach of taking a history, examining the airway, ordering and reviewing test results; and then discussing diagnoses and treatment based on the whole clinical picture will give you the best outcomes.
Often a range of treatment options are available for your condition and this requires Specialist assessment to discuss these. Our services differ substantially from direct ordered limited home sleep study tests with no medical input, where diagnoses and management can be uncertain or wrong and not well guided.