SLEEP APNEA TESTS
The greatest advancements in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea have been made in recent years. If your dentist or primary care physician suspects that you have sleep apnea, he’ll suggest that you get tested for sleep apnea in order to be treated for this sleep disorder.
There are two main types of test you can have to test for sleep apnea: 1) in-clinic overnight sleep study or 2) at-home sleep apnea test.
In-Clinic Overnight Sleep Study
As the name suggests, you stay overnight at a clinic, lab, or hospital, and are given a polysomnogram (PSG), which is a test that records and electronically transmits your body’s activities while your sleep.
A polysomnography records your:
- oxygen level in your blood
- breathing rate
- heart rate
- brain ways
- eye movements
These recordings are examined and interpreted by a sleep specialist who ascertains if you have sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may need to undergo more tests in order to see what treatment will be best for you.
What to Expect During an In-Clinic Sleep Study
You are assigned a private bedroom that’s close to a central monitoring area where there are technicians to monitor you while you sleep. You are hooked up to equipment, including surface electrodes, as well as belts around your abdomen and chest, to measure your breathing to digitally record your body’s functions. While the PSG is an effective sleep apnea test, it has drawbacks including that it’s inconvenient and you aren’t sleeping in your normal environment.
At-Home Sleep Apnea Test
Many people find that taking a sleep apnea test in their own home is preferable to going to a sleep lab and trying to sleep in a strange new place. For many, an in-home sleep apnea assessment is also far more convenient than an in-lab sleep study.
Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES) At-Home Sleep Apnea Test
One popular at-home sleep apnea test is the Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES). This patient-friendly home test device allows you to test your own sleep from the comfort of your own home, and is both comfortable and lightweight.
The device is made up of a forehead sensor without wires. All you need to do is to apply the device to your head before going to sleep. ARES provides a true profile of your sleep, as it’s worn in your normal environment, and due to its small size is very comfortable too.
ARES measures your:
- Blood oxygen saturation
- Pulse rate
- Snoring levels
- Head movement
- Head position
The device can also store up to three nights of nocturnal data, and comprises of:
- EEG electrodes
- Adjustable head strap
- One cannula
- Clear baggie (to return the device)
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Nowadays, there are a variety of treatments options available for sleep apnea, including:
- Sleep apnea oral appliance
- Lifestyle changes, for example, losing weight
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – a special machine that helps you to breath using positive airway pressure
- Nasal dilators
- Surgery – if there’s a blockage or other abnormality