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An Overview of the Best Anti Snoring Devices

It is essential to talk to your doctor about undergoing a sleep apnea test in order to determine the cause of and solution to your sleeping disorder, if you or your partner is suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea or any other sleeping problems. 



A sleep apnea test or sleep study is a test that is designed to monitor your respiratory rate, brain activity, and other physical aspects while you are sleeping, and the most common such test is known as a polysomnogram.

If your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea or pretty much any other sleeping disorder, and recommends that you undergo such an examination, it will traditionally be carried out at by a team of sleep specialists at a sleep center, although home testing is becoming more and more common. 

What Can You Expect During Your Sleep Apnea Test?

If you are undergoing a sleep study at a sleep center, you will be required to spend a night in the center while connected to different machines monitoring various bodily functions. Many people are absolutely petrified when their doctor informs them of this and instantly fear that they will not be able to fall asleep properly thus ruining the test results. 

This fear is usually even more magnified once the individual actually enters the sleep center lab on the evening of their test as the machines look like they would be quite uncomfortable and make it difficult to fall asleep. After all, you will be sleeping in a strange bedroom, surrounded by machines that are connected to you in various places, all with a team of sleep specialists monitoring your every move. 

 

While this all night sound quite daunting, most people actually fall asleep quite easily as the sleep center is designed to be as comfortable as possible and most testing rooms resemble an actual bedroom. 

 

sleep apnea testWhen the time comes for your sleep apnea test, the sleep technician will place belts around both your abdomen and chest to measure your breathing. The technician will also attach electrodes to your scalp and face to record muscle and brain activity. 

Finally, they will place a small probe on your finger to measure the level of oxygen saturation in your blood, as this will help determine the severity of your sleep apnea. Generally speaking, the lower the oxygen level in your bloodstream, the more severe the disorder.

There will also be a nasal airflow indicator to measure your airflow and an electro-oculogram which measures eye movements to help determine which stage of sleep you are in. Most sleep center labs also have a microphone nearby to record the amount and level of snoring.

After being connected to the machines, you will then try to fall asleep, and once asleep, a team of sleep specialists will constantly monitor all of the information coming from these machines to help determine the severity of your sleep apnea, as well as at which stages of sleep it is most prevalent.

A Word About Home Sleep Apnea Tests

sleep apnea testHome sleep studies are becoming increasingly common, and many people choose to perform their sleep apnea test this way because they feel much more comfortable sleeping in their own home. 

In fact, many sleep experts are starting to recommend home sleep studies over the traditional sleep lab based study for the same reason.

This way, they are able to get a more accurate overview of the patient’s sleeping habits when the patient is allowed to sleep in a situation that they are used to.

Still, there are a few downsides to home sleep studies, as they are a much more simplified version of the lab based studies and therefore may not actually pick up on all types of sleep apnea. In general, a home sleep test will still monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation level, breathing rate, and airflow. This type of test uses less equipment and is therefore usually much cheaper, albeit slightly less effective

When you take the results back to your doctor, they will look mainly at your breathing patterns to see if you show signs of having any apneas or cessations in breathing. Then they will correlate this information with your blood oxygen levels to look for a pattern. 

Normally, when a person has sleep apnea, their blood oxygen saturation will drop during each apnea, and then slowly come back to normal after they have woken up from each episode. If the apneas are very frequent or long lasting, the level can drop to sometimes less than 70% of normal, in which case the patient is diagnosed as having severe sleep apnea

sleep apnea testIn most cases where a person uses a home sleep study, if the doctor sees anything out of the ordinary, then they are usually able to prescribe a treatment or therapy without the patient having to undergo further testing. 

However, if the results are abnormal as well, the doctor may still recommend that the patient undergo a polysomnogram in a sleep center lab. For more information about how to interpret a polysomnogram throughout the stages of sleep, check out Clint's article on his website called Sleep and Dreams.

What Happens After the Sleep Apnea Test?

If the sleep study indicates that the patient has sleep apnea, then the sleep specialist or your doctor will most likely recommend that you then visit with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to try and determine the cause of the disorder. In most cases, it is due to an obstruction of either the nasal or throat air passage which makes it difficult to breathe, which is known as obstructive sleep apnea.

If the ENT doctor cannot find any obstructions, then they may refer you on to a cardiologist and possibly a neurologist to see if there are any other physiological reasons for your sleep apnea. Apneas which are not caused by blockages are referred to as central sleep apnea, a much rarer and potentially more serious condition.

After a doctor or specialist has properly diagnosed the type of sleep apnea you have and the causes, then they will begin you on a treatment method to help lessen or eliminate your condition.


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