Self-Evaluation

The Takeaway

  • Self-evaluation can be the first step to getting diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

The STOP-BANG survey below is a self-evaluation you can take to assess the chances of having sleep apnea. However, to get a proper diagnosis, you must see a healthcare practitioner—either a primary care physician/clinician or a sleep specialist. He or she will obtain additional information and determine whether there are alternative explanations for your symptoms. Your doctor will decide whether further evaluation is necessary. Sometimes excessive daytime sleepiness is simply related to insufficient sleep. If it seems likely that you have OSA, then additional diagnostic testing will be required.

These four yes-or-no "STOP" questions can help you determine your risk for sleep apnea:

  • S: Do you snore loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
  • T: Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the day?
  • O: Has anyone observed you not breathing during sleep?
  • P: Do you have or have you been treated for high blood pressure?

You have a high risk of sleep apnea if you answered "yes" to two or more of these questions. You are strongly encouraged to discuss these results with your medical provider. To find a sleep center in your area, please visit http://www.sleepcenters.org.

The questionnaire has an even higher predictive value when you answer four more questions:

  • B: Is your Body Mass Index more than 35 kg/m2?
  • A: Is your age more than 50 years old?
  • N: Is your neck circumference greater than 40 cm?
  • G: Is your gender male?

You have a high risk of sleep apnea if you answered "yes" to three or more of the eight STOP-BANG questions. You are strongly encouraged to discuss these results with your medical provider. To find a sleep center in your area, please visit http://www.sleepcenters.org.

There is now evidence that football players are a especially high risk for sleep apnea, particularly those who play offensive and defensive line positions. Learn more about sleep apnea in football players at http://profootballapnearisk.com/.

Learn more about what to expect from a sleep evaluation.

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This content was last reviewed on February 11, 2011