Sleep Apnea Home Test: All You Need to Know

Sleep Apnea Home Test: All You Need to Know

Apr 01, 2023

Do find often wake up feeling tired, sleepy, or with headaches? Sleep apnea might be to blame. Sleep apnea happens when breathing is interrupted during sleep. It often occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep, partially or completely closing the airway (obstructive sleep apnea).

Sleep apnea can also happen when the brain fails to signal properly to the muscles that control breathing (central sleep apnea). People with a narrow airway, excess weight, or underlying health conditions are at a greater risk of sleep apnea treatment in Calgary.

Common signs and symptoms that you may have sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

  • Loud snoring

  • Frequent sleep disruptions

  • Morning headaches

  • Irritability and depression

  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention while awake

  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Awakening with a dry mouth

  • Waking up with a sore throat

  • Episodes of breathing stops during sleep (often reported by another person)

  • Choking or gasping for air during sleep

While mild sleep apnea might not cause serious problems, untreated and chronic sleep apnea can cause sleep deprivation and affect oxygen flow throughout the body. It increases your risk of serious health complications like stroke, heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.

Sleep Apnea Home Tests

If you suspect that you or your loved one have sleep apnea, a sleep apnea home test is an easy and cost-effective way to monitor your symptoms. While they may not thoroughly assess your issue, they can be helpful. Below are seven key facts about sleep apnea home tests that you should know:

  • They only monitor breathing, not sleep.

  • Sleep apnea home tests evaluate sleep apnea symptoms. Therefore, they monitor your breathing parameters and not sleep itself. Unlike comprehensive sleep studies, sleep apnea home tests won’t analyze your night’s sleep. The test only measures pauses in the absence of breathing, whether your breath is deep or shallow, and how much effort it takes to breathe.

  • You need a prescription.

  • You can’t obtain a sleep apnea home test without a prescription. Your dentist or doctor at a sleep clinic can order it for you to monitor your breathing at home. Most people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it, let alone that they need a sleep apnea test.

  • It uses sensors to check your breathing patterns.

  • Sleep apnea home tests use sensors: a small probe attached to your finger to measure oxygen levels and a mask with tubes into the nostrils secured around the years. Other sensors are placed on the abdomen and chest to measure the rise and fall or effort or breathing.

  • Short-time commitment

  • Most sleep apnea home tests are for a single night in the comfort of your home. It’s, therefore, less expensive and convenient than sleep studies conducted in a clinic. People with severe or regular sleep apnea should consider overnight sleep studies at a sleep center.

  • Limited scope

  • Sleep apnea tests don’t provide a thorough assessment of sleep apnea. A sleep technologist or physician reviews the results of the test. If the results indicate that you may have sleep apnea or your symptoms persists, your dentist can recommend an in-lab or sleep clinic study.

    Similarly, since sleep apnea home tests only monitor your breathing, they may not be ideal for checking central sleep apnea caused by the brain’s failure to send proper signals to breathe.

  • Less accurate

    Since most sleep apnea tests are for a night, so they might not provide the most accurate results. Similarly, home tests can be inaccurate, especially if your sensors malfunction or fall out at night.

  • You might have other issues.

  • Sleep apnea is only one of the many sleep disorders. Unfortunately, a sleep apnea home test might not indicate other problems. For instance, some sleep problems like movement disorders might not affect your breathing.

    Overnight sleep studies in a lab or sleep apnea clinic near you monitor more vitals related to sleep, like eye and leg movements and brain waves. Therefore, they can help detect other sleep problems like narcolepsy.

Are you interested in sleep apnea treatment in Calgary?

For more information about sleep apnea tests and treatments, contact Northwest Prosthodontics to schedule a consultation with our prosthodontist near you.

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