Skip to Content


Home Blog Demystifying Sleep Apnea and Your AHI Level

Demystifying Sleep Apnea and Your AHI Level

Demystifying Sleep Apnea and Your AHI Level


If you live with obstructive sleep apnea, there is a lot you need to familiarize yourself with. You’re working to understand your sleep disorder, the equipment you need for treatment, and key terminology that could be critical to your health. One of the key elements to consider with obstructive sleep apnea is your Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). If this is something you’ve never considered or heard of before, you aren’t alone. Hart Medical Equipment is here to help you understand the importance of AHI and how it impacts your sleep apnea treatment.

What Is Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI)? 

Obstructive sleep apnea causes your breathing to briefly cease during sleep; this pause in breathing is called an apnea event. Your apnea hypopnea index (AHI) measures how many of these events happen per hour during sleep.

What Does My Apnea Hypopnea Index Score Mean? 

Simply put, the higher your apnea hypopnea index, the greater the severity of your sleep apnea case. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical school, the following scores can help you gauge the severity of your sleep apnea: 

  • None/Minimal: AHI < 5 per hour 
  • Mild: AHI ≥ 5, but < 15 per hour 
  • Moderate: AHI ≥ 15, but < 30 per hour 
  • Severe: AHI ≥ 30 per hour 

How Is Apnea Hypopnea Index Evaluated? 

The best way for your doctor to determine your apnea hypopnea index is through a sleep study. During a sleep study, doctors are able to assess how many times your breathing is interrupted during the course of a normal night’s sleep. Your doctor will use the results of the sleep study to diagnose if you have sleep apnea, and how severe your case is.  

What If I Have A High Apnea Hypopnea Index Score? 

Moderate to severe apnea hypopnea index scores likely need to be treated with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy. Your doctor will determine the best equipment to treat your case of sleep apnea and provide a restful night’s sleep. 
Hart Medical Equipment offers PAP equipment from leading brands to treat sleep apnea. If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, we invite you to browse our full selection of PAP equipment.