Do you snore a lot, experience excessive daytime sleepiness even after a proper night’s sleep, and have trouble focusing? There’s a chance that you’re suffering from adult obstructive sleep apnea.
Around 30% of adults suffer from sleep apnea, but sadly most of them remain undiagnosed. In fact, the lack of awareness concerning obstructive sleep apnea is so high that most people don’t know of its existence.
Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed with simple at-home sleep study tests. Here, we’ll discuss how you can detect whether you’re suffering from sleep apnea or not.
Are At-Home Sleep Apnea Tests Effective?
There are two ways to diagnose sleep apnea. You can either do it in a sleep lab study or you can do it at home. Both require you to conduct overnight sleep study tests, but they’re very different from each other. In lab studies, they will monitor different kinds of sleep data using advanced medical devices.
So, naturally, people question the efficacy of at-home sleep tests. At-home sleep apnea tests monitor breathing patterns, effort, and blood oxygen levels. There won’t be any sleep technicians to monitor your muscle movements and brain waves.
However, it’s found that at-home tests are usually equally effective for diagnosing sleep disorders.
At-Home Test for Sleep Apnea or In-Lab Study?
Are you wondering if you should take an at-home sleep apnea test or not? If your bed partner or family reports loud snoring or gasping while you sleep and if you experience daytime sleepiness, you should definitely take a sleep apnea test.
However, this doesn’t determine if you should go to a sleep center or not. As discussed earlier, at-home sleep study test devices should provide an accurate diagnosis. However, there are certain factors that require special attention. These are:
· Cardiovascular diseases
· Severe pulmonary diseases
· Neuromuscular problems
The Process Of At-Home Sleep Study Test
The process of conducting at-home sleep apnea tests is rather straightforward. In this section, we’ll share a breakdown, so you’re well-guided to take the test.
Visit The Doctor’s Office
The first step is to visit a doctor in order to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. You don’t necessarily have to visit a sleep clinic right away. Rather, we recommend making a sleep diary containing a record of your recent habits so you can show that to your primary care physician.
If your condition is dire and somehow related to sleep apnea, then the doctor will refer you to a sleep clinic.
Contact The Sleep Specialist
Once you arrive at the sleep clinic, you’ll have to meet a sleep specialist. Now, no clinical sleep medicine will be provided without a thorough examination. So, you’ll be inquired first. Expect to answer a lot of questions in detail.
If you’re curious, you can ask questions regarding the cost, health insurance coverage, clinical practice guidelines, treatment options, etc. Once you’re certain that the apnea test is right for you, you can convey that to your specialist.
Upon doing so, you’ll be provided with the equipment necessary for diagnosing sleep apnea for home sleep testing.
Obtain The Necessary Test Kit
Here, we’ll share a brief description of the equipment you’ll have to use. Familiarize yourself with this equipment so you can use it effectively.
An oximeter reads the oxygen saturation level of your blood. It’s usually attached to one of your fingers. However, some special oximeters are used on earlobes instead.
You’ll need to insert a nasal cannula to collect data on your breathing patterns. People who do not breathe through their nose won’t be helped by these, so they’ll be provided with a thermistor.
Breathing Effort Belt
A belt is provided that’s meant to be wrapped around your chest. The main function of this belt is to measure respiratory effort during sleep.
A Central Hub
A central hub will collect data from each of the mentioned devices during the sleep apnea diagnosis. This hub might also come with a screen for real-time display of data.
Sometimes, a microphone is provided to monitor and record the snoring intensity of the patient. However, this isn’t an absolute necessity, as the nasal cannula usually does this job just fine.
There will be a device to wear on your wrist. The function of such devices is to monitor PAT or peripheral arterial tonometry. This measures the pulsation in the blood throughout the home sleep test.
Return the Equipment
After conducting the sleep studies, you’ll have to return the equipment procured from the lab. You usually have to use these devices multiple nights throughout the home test.
After providing the devices, the sleep clinic will extract the collected data on breathing, oxygen levels, etc., from them. While there are some traditional sleep studies that use algorithms for analyzing these data, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine encourages these to be done manually by experts.
Get the Results
Finally, it’s time to learn the result of the lab tests. Home sleep apnea tests usually measure the REI. The respiratory event index, or REI, records the number of times a patient experiences breathing disruptions per hour.
Depending on the results of your diagnostic testing, the clinic may suggest treatments such as positive airway pressure therapy. In case of severe sleep apnea or central sleep apnea, you may be subjected to stronger medicines and therapies.
Mild sleep apnea or severe sleep disorder can render us ineffective during the daytime. Also, some of them can leave you with an increased risk of hypertension, heart attack, and other chronic health problems. Appropriate testing can prevent this before things get worse.
So, taking an at-home sleep study test is highly recommended. With one of these home sleep apnea testing, you’ll be able to determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea or any other sleep disorders.