How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Many people never know for sure if they have sleep apnea. Doctors usually can't detect it during routine office visits, and there are no blood tests for it. Most people who have sleep apnea do not really know it because sleep apnea only occurs during sleep.

Doctors diagnose sleep apnea by asking you questions about your medical history and your family's medical past, and performing a physical exam. Your doctor may also want to order a "sleep study" in which your breathing and sleep patterns are monitored.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/29/2014.


  • American Sleep Apnea Association. Varieties of OSA Surgery Accessed 10/6/2014.
  • Weinberger PM, Terris DJ. Chapter 15. Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery. In: Doherty GM. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery, 13e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2010. Accessed 10/6/2014.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is Sleep Apnea? Accessed 10/6/2014.

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