Diagnosing Sleep Apnea: What is the Best Way to Do It?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life. To diagnose this condition, you need to undergo a sleep study, which can be done in a laboratory or at home. Polysomnography is the most accurate way to diagnose

obstructive sleep apnea

, but it can be expensive and difficult to access in some areas. Home sleep apnea tests are designed to make testing more accessible and help ensure that people get the treatment they need.

Polysomnography is a nighttime sleep study conducted in a laboratory that records how many


, hypopneas, or awakenings related to respiratory effort (RRA) occur per hour while a person sleeps. During this test, you'll be connected to equipment that monitors heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. The diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is based on the results of polysomnography and on the presence or absence of certain symptoms. At-home sleep apnea testing is an alternative to polysomnography for those who cannot access a sleep center or have long waiting lists.

WatchPat's easy-to-use design is ideal for anyone who suspects that they have obstructive sleep apnea, but can't book a polysomnogram appointment in a timely manner or doesn't want to spend the night in a sleep lab. Most home sleep apnea tests measure different body metrics that are used to determine if a person has sleep apnea or not. If your doctor thinks you're more likely to have sleep apnea, the sleep study may also include a positive atmospheric pressure (PAP) device. Sleep tests are divided into different categories based on how accurately they measure different sleep metrics.

People who don't have symptoms of sleep apnea can still be diagnosed with this condition if they have 15 or more of these events per hour during a sleep study. About 25% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea report daytime sleepiness; a higher proportion report poor sleep or fatigue. After acclimating to a sleep lab room, a technician places monitoring devices on the legs, fingers, chest, and head. Nightly sleep studies are significantly more monitoring sleep-related vital signs, including brain waves and leg and eye movements.

A PAP device helps keep the trachea open by forcing air through a tube and mask placed on your face while you sleep. Your treatment plan will depend on the type of sleep apnea you have and the severity of the disorder, as well as your personal preferences. They are currently not indicated for central sleep apnea, 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.Once you have the results, the same doctor will review them and provide you with a personalized sleep report with treatment recommendations and prescriptions. We recently updated this page to highlight Lofta's WatchPat and included additional information on how to purchase and use home sleep apnea tests.

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