Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are now at-home sleep apnea tests available that can provide an accurate diagnosis without the need to visit a sleep clinic. In this article, we will discuss what at-home sleep apnea testing is, how it works, and how it compares to traditional sleep studies.At-home sleep apnea testing is a simplified breathing monitor that records breathing, oxygen levels, and respiratory effort while you are wearing it.
This type of testing is an easy and cost-effective way to determine if you are having trouble breathing. It is important to note that at-home sleep apnea tests do not capture all of the signals monitored in a nighttime sleep study. Nightly sleep studies provide a more thorough evaluation of sleep problems and are typically conducted by a sleep technologist. They pick up many more signals, including brain waves for sleep, muscle tone, and leg movements.At-home sleep apnea testing is used as an alternative to traditional sleep studies, which require spending the night in a sleep center under the supervision of a specialist.
Home tests are usually used to confirm the suspicion of the presence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If your doctor suspects that you have OSA, they may ask you to do a test at home or you may qualify for the test without first consulting your doctor. The test is done in the comfort of your own home and evaluates whether your breathing is normal while you sleep.Although not as detailed as a sleep study conducted at a clinic, at-home sleep apnea tests can be used to diagnose or monitor OSA. The device uses the wrist, finger, and neck as contact points to measure seven different metrics used to diagnose sleep apnea.
Once symptoms are detected, it is common to undergo a sleep study to determine if there is sleep apnea.Sleep apnea often causes daytime sleepiness and has been linked to other health problems, including cardiovascular disease. If you receive a diagnosis of OSA, you may need to return to the lab later to install a device to help you breathe. By comparison, polysomnography provides a more holistic view of sleep quality and patterns, in addition to the apnea-related metrics measured using home tests.At-home sleep apnea testing is an easy and convenient way to get tested for OSA without having to visit a clinic or hospital. Your primary care doctor may request at-home sleep apnea testing or you may attend a telehealth consultation or complete an intake survey with a testing provider to determine if you are a good candidate for the test.
Once you receive your evaluation and prescription from your doctor, you can do the test yourself in the comfort of your own home.It is important to note that at-home tests are not indicated for central sleep apnea, which is a rarer form of sleep apnea in which pauses in breathing are not due to the collapse of the respiratory tract but rather because the brain does not send signals to breathe. If your doctor suspects that you have central sleep apnea, they will likely recommend that you undergo an overnight study at a clinic or hospital.At-home sleep apnea testing provides an easy and convenient way to get tested for OSA without having to visit a clinic or hospital. It also allows for more accurate data-based recommendations for mattresses, pillows, sheets, and other essential items for sleeping. If your doctor suspects that you have OSA, they may recommend that you do an at-home test or they may refer you for an overnight study at a clinic or hospital.