How to Diagnose Sleep Apnea at Home

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, it is important to get tested. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to test for sleep apnea, including at-home tests. At-home sleep apnea tests are a convenient and cost-effective way to diagnose the condition.

The device itself is a portable breathing monitor that is used during the night. While you sleep, the device monitors your breathing and oxygen levels to detect and measure pauses in breathing, known as apneas. Home sleep tests have advantages and disadvantages compared to laboratory-based tests. If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may ask you to take a sleep apnea test, called a polysomnogram (PSG).

This can be done at a sleep disorder center or even at home. This scale includes a measurement of the number of apneas, or breathing lapses, per hour of sleep during the study. Home tests are usually effective in determining if you have the condition. The test uses a breathing monitor that records breathing, oxygen levels, and respiratory effort while you sleep.

Both laboratory and home sleep apnea tests measure vital functions, such as breathing patterns, heart rate, and oxygen levels. A polysomnogram (or sleep study) is a multi-component test that electronically sends and records specific physical activities while you sleep. It's also less expensive than a clinic-based sleep study: it ranges from one-third to one-fifth of the cost of doing a study in the lab and is often covered by insurance. If you are experiencing fatigue or other symptoms that may be related to sleep apnea, it is important to talk to your doctor who can help you determine if an at-home sleep test is appropriate for you.

Your doctor may suggest that you monitor your sleep at home if your symptoms and risk factors clearly suggest sleep apnea.

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