You might have opened this blog wondering, “what in the world is STOP-Bang?” and if so, it’s totally understandable. On the other hand, if you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, or even if you just have undergone a sleep study or are knowingly at risk for the disease, you probably know what we’re talking about.
Either way, the STOP-Bang questionnaire is a great resource that’s helpful in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. As an easy and accessible screening that’s available online, awareness of this resource can be life-changing for a person struggling with untreated obstructive sleep apnea. We’ll explain exactly what the STOP-Bang questionnaire is, how it works, and why we use it below.
What is the STOP-Bang Questionnaire?
While the name might throw you off a bit, the STOP-Bang questionnaire is actually pretty simple: it’s just a questionnaire!
STOP-Bang is a proven screening tool for obstructive sleep apnea that assesses your level of risk for the disorder. The risk groups are low, intermediate, and high.
STOP-Bang stands for: Snoring, Tired, Observed, Pressure, Body Mass Index, Age, Neck Size, and Gender. All of these are factors for obstructive sleep apnea and prevalence.
How Does it Work?
The questionnaire is actually quite convenient. It’s easy and quick; it consists of only 8 yes-or-no questions.
Because obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, but often goes undiagnosed, this questionnaire significantly impacts the awareness of obstructive sleep apnea and the amount of people who look into diagnosis. This is an important first step in the process!
You can access the STOP-Bang questionnaire here; while there are many other sites it is available on, this is the official site for the questionnaire.
The questionnaire takes into account some of the most significant risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. You will have to answer yes or no to 8 questions before it calculates what risk group you belong in.
Here are the questions the STOP-Bang questionnaire asks:
The first question is “do you snore loudly?” Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Loud, intense snoring can in fact be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
Next is, “do you feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?” Excessive daytime fatigue is another telltale sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Since your sleep is being disrupted regularly, you’re not getting sufficient sleep to help you function through the day.
“Has anyone observed you stop breathing or choking/gasping during your sleep?” People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea frequently awaken gasping or choking because the airway experiences blockages that prevent proper breathing.
“Do you have or are being treated for high blood pressure?” High blood pressure is commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea. There’s also a connection between other cardiovascular issues such as atrial fibrillation, or AFib, and obstructive sleep apnea.
- Body Mass Index more than 35 kg/m²?
A large amount of research has linked obesity to obstructive sleep apnea and vice versa. The site helps you to calculate your BMI. If your BMI is over this threshold, you’re most likely dealing with obesity, which can seriously enhance your risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea.
- Age older than 50?
Another factor for obstructive sleep apnea is age. If you are older than 50, you are automatically at a higher risk for developing this disorder. It’s important to keep in mind that while you might not have had sleeping issues in your younger days, it can pose a problem as you get older.
- Neck size large?
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by airway blockages that cause gasping, choking, and snoring during sleep. These airway blockages take place due to the soft tissues in the back of the throat relaxing and collapsing during sleep. If you have a larger neck, it means more soft tissues to block your airways.
- Gender = Male?
Finally, the last question asks if you are male. Males are also, unfortunately, automatically at a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Once you have answered these yes-or-no questions, the screening will place you into a risk group based on your answers. If you’ve said yes to less than 2 questions, you’re at a low risk. If you’ve answered yes to 3 or 4 questions, you’re at intermediate risk. Finally, if you’ve answered yes to more than 5 questions, you’re at high risk.
The questionnaire also notes at the end that those who have answered two or more of the 4 STOP questions and are either male, have a BMI over 35, and/or have a large neck circumference, you are also at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Why is the STOP-Bang Questionnaire Used by Professionals?
Because many cases of obstructive sleep apnea go undiagnosed, this treatable sleep disorder can actually increase mortality rates. Most people will not go visit a doctor just because they have trouble sleeping, therefore, they won’t know the severity of an underlying condition such as this.
The questionnaire was first developed in 2008 as a simple and concise self-reporting tool to help the general population gain more awareness about the symptoms, effects, and dangers of obstructive sleep apnea. It also encourages those at higher risk levels to visit a doctor.
According to this journal, the accuracy of the STOP-Bang questionnaire was indeed validated through polysomnography, or in simpler terms, a sleep study, which is widely used by professionals in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea patients.
Due to its accuracy and high performance in screening for obstructive sleep apnea, professionals accept its usage in sleep clinics.
Get Better Sleep Tonight!
Now that you know what the STOP-Bang questionnaire is, you can use this awareness to your advantage! If you are dealing with any of these symptoms, now is the time to take action.
You can start by completing the questionnaire and seeing what risk group you are placed in. If you are placed at intermediate or high risk, we highly recommend visiting us at Advanced Sleep Solutions of Virginia.
We have a highly-trained team of sleep professionals waiting to help you get the best night’s sleep possible! In addition, we also make the process of diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea, chronic snoring, and other sleep disorders easy. With your comfort and convenience being our first priority, we offer at-home sleep studies, online scheduling, and a secure telemedicine portal where you can talk to a sleep professional at any time.
Ignorance isn’t bliss. Don’t let obstructive sleep apnea go untreated and ruin your life!
Can you answer yes to any of the STOP-Bang questions? Did you get a high score on the questionnaire? We’re here to help you get a handle on obstructive sleep apnea and poor sleep! You can schedule an appointment online or call us at (703) 689-2480 for a free consultation. Keep in mind we may ask you to use the app Snorelab to monitor your snoring patterns prior to your first appointment.