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Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Medical History

Topic Overview

Your doctor will record your medical history to determine whether your snoring is simply interfering with your or your partner's sleep or whether you have sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.

Your doctor will ask if you:

  • Have symptoms, such as fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness, loud and consistent snoring, morning headache, and weight gain.
  • Have a dry mouth in the morning.
  • Have problems with concentration or memory.
  • Have lung or heart diseases.
  • Drink alcohol, especially before bedtime.

Often people with snoring or sleep apnea are not aware that they snore or stop breathing or have other symptoms during sleep. Your doctor will ask your sleeping partner about your behavior during sleep such as restlessness, grunting, gasping, and times when breathing stops. Your doctor may also ask about your snoring: how loudly and how frequently you snore, and whether you snore more when sleeping on your back or on your side.

If you sleep alone, your doctor may ask you to record a night's sleep using a sound-activated tape recorder. Your doctor also may ask you to keep track of such information as when you fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night and for how long, how much sleep you get, and how many naps you take during the day. You can do this using a sleep diary(What is a PDF document?).


When evaluating your child for snoring or sleep apnea, your doctor will ask about any:

  • History of restless sleep or frequent waking during the night.
  • Tonsil or adenoid problems.
  • History of bed-wetting.
  • History of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A child may be suspected of having ADHD when he or she instead has sleep apnea.
  • History of nervous system (neurological), lung, or heart conditions present from birth.

Related Information


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last Revised January 20, 2012

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