Sleep Health Test

Sleep Health Test for Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

A sleep study, also known as polysomnography, is a comprehensive test that measures and records several parameters while you sleep. Measuring and recording these parameters help diagnose sleep disorders. Parameters include the following:

  • Brain waves
  • Blood oxygen level
  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Eye movements
  • Leg movements
Sleep Health Test

Sleep Health Test

This test is also referred to as sleep apnea study and home sleep study. A sleep study may be carried out in a health facility (sleep disorders unit or sleep clinic) or at a sleep center. It is usually done in the night but can be performed during the day for people who work on shift basis and only have their sleep during the day. The study allows doctors to have an insight into what is happening in your brain and body, and results help to diagnose sleep disorders.

At other times, it may be done at home. Home sleep apnea test however, is focused primarily on diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. It uses  limited number of sensors to measure and record the parameters needed for diagnosis.

Sleep disorders are conditions that cause changes in your normal sleeping pattern. These include having episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, getting too much sleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times and places such as when driving, at work, etc., and having sleep-related movement disorders.

Sleep disorders can affect your physical and mental health, safety, and quality of life. Lack of sleep may increase your risk of serious conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases. It may also lead to car crashes and other accidents. Early diagnosis and treatment of a sleep disorder is important to prevent health complications.

In addition to helping identifying sleep disorders, sleep studies may be employed to help initiate or modify your treatment plan if you’ve already been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

Sleep Issues

What Sleep Disorders Does Testing Diagnose?

These tests can be sued to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. These include:

Sleeping Disorders
Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea(OSA)is the most common type of sleep apnea that occurs due to the physical blockage of the upper airway during sleep. The cause of this collapse in the airway is usually due to the soft tissues in the mouth, tongue or throat closing down and blocking airflow during sleep. Causes and risk factors include having a large tongue, a low soft palate, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, family history, older age, being male, being obese, and high blood pressure, amongst others.

The first sign of this is usually snoring which happens when you are attempting to breathe through a narrow airway. If left untreated, snoring often escalates to full OSA where the narrow airway is now completely blocked.

Patients suffering from OSA experience repeated episodes of interrupted breathing where they stop breathing, and after some seconds resume breathing. When breathing is interrupted, the diaphragm and chest muscles work  to build pressure within the airway and push it open.  The brain notes that your oxygen levels are low and then signals for the body to wake. The person resumes breathing with a gasp, snort, cough, or a body jerk. One can have up to 30 episodes in a hours. These repeated interruptions can prevent restful sleep, lower blood oxygen levels and supply to vital body organs, and cause arrhythmias.

Many people with sleep apnea do not remember snoring loudly or waking up throughout the night. However, they wake up with headaches, sore throats or dry mouths, and feel tired and weak after a night’s sleep. If sleep apnea goes untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, and sudden death, amongst others. 

Insomnia

This is the most common sleep disorder. Insomnia involves having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. People with insomnia also often have trouble getting enough sleep, trouble getting up in the morning, feeling tired after a night’s sleep, daytime fatigue or sleepiness, headaches, and other symptoms of sleep deprivation. Some people experience temporary insomnia for a few days or weeks but it can also be a chronic disorder.

There are several causes of insomnia including mental and physical  conditions. The Sleep Foundation lists factors like stress, excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol, anxiety, depression, illnesses and pain, medications, other sleep problems, and neurological disorders as causes of insomnia.

Narcolepsy

Sleep testing helps to diagnose and confirm this sleep disorder. Narcolepsy is a chronic neurologic condition. where there is  ineffective control of sleep and alertness. The most common symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, low alertness, tiredness, sleep paralysis, cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone), and hallucinations.

People with narcolepsy suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times, places and could be in the middle of something causing disruption to their daily activities. They may also lose control of their muscles triggered by strong emotions. They also may feel unable to  to move or speak temporarily while falling asleep or upon waking.

Parasomnias

Parasomnia is a broad term for unconscious and unusual behaviors during sleep. They include talking in one’s sleep, sleep walking, sleep terrors, eating or having sex while asleep. Parasomnias are usually connected to other medical and sleep problems. Treatment may require medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, and/or home safety measures to help control overnight behaviors.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

People with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder find dreaming is also a physical activity. In other words, they act out their dreams, especially violent ones.  They do not sleep quietly and restfully instead, they move their limbs (arms and legs), make vocal sounds or talk, get up from bed and even do things they would normally do while awake. All these could be talking, yelling, hitting, walking, and kicking.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder becomes a subject of concern when the person gets involved in dangerous behavior or acts out violence when they sleep. People with RBD could harm themselves or others while sleeping.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is often requires an overnight sleep study because it is mostly confused with other parasomnias. This is often  done in a sleep clinic. The test results are first evaluated by polysomnography technologists, and then reviewed by a doctor for appropriate treatment and medication.

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a common yet frightening disorder. It is the feeling of being awake but having temporary muscle paralysis when falling asleep or waking up. The person is unable to move or speak at these points. It usually lasts for  a few minutes.

Treatment often involve medication, sleep hygiene practices such as avoiding blue light, going to bed every day at the same time, and sleeping in other positions, and getting enough (at least 6-8 hours) sleep, relaxation therapy, and good diet.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is known as Willis-Ekbom Disease. It is a sleep disorder where the person feels an overwhelming, uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually accompanied with uncomfortable sensations while sleeping. It can feel like aching, throbbing, muscle tension, tingling, burning, itching, or crawling along the legs and feet. These sensations are eased temporarily when the person moves, stretches, walks, paces, or rubs their legs. RLS occurs in the evening or during nighttime hours, making it difficult to fall asleep or sleep through the night.

RLS can be caused by peripheral neuropathy, long periods of inactivity, iron deficiency, pregnancy, or obesity. Restless Legs Syndrome often causes tiredness, irritability, and concentration problems. Effective treatment may include medication, iron supplements, and home remedies.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

This sleep-related movement disorder is characterized by continual and involuntary jerking of limbs, twitching or cramping in the legs during sleep. It can happen every 5 to 90 seconds for up to an hour.

It differs  from restless leg syndrome although it is often mistaken for it. In PLMD, the movements are seemingly repetitive and rhythmic. PLMD can disrupt sleep, lead to poor quality sleep, and cause daytime fatigue and sleepiness

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

This group of sleep disorders is also known as circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders (CRSWD). They affect a person’s sleep cycle, rising from a persistent pattern of sleep/wake disturbances caused by a number of factors. This could be shift work, working in the dark, Alzheimer’s disease, changes in sleeping routine, change in time zones and jet lag, and mental health issues. A sleep study will also help diagnose if this sleep disorder is what you may be suffering from.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

This sleep-related movement disorder is characterized by continual and involuntary jerking of limbs, twitching or cramping in the legs during sleep. It can happen every 5 to 90 seconds for up to an hour.

It differs  from restless leg syndrome although it is often mistaken for it. In PLMD, the movements are seemingly repetitive and rhythmic. PLMD can disrupt sleep, lead to poor quality sleep, and cause daytime fatigue and sleepiness

Tests to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

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ARES™ Screener

This is a powerful online tool that analyzes responses to questions about body type, symptoms of daytime drowsiness, snoring and other sleep and health conditions associated with OSA. The ARES™ Screener is a validated predictor of OSA risk and OSA severity. The results can be used to rapidly screen large populations to determine a prior probability of OSA. The results are also used to supplement the physiological data obtained in the ARES™ Sleep Apnea Study.

At-Home Sleep Apnea Test

At-home sleep apnea testing is a convenient, easy, and affordable way to diagnose sleep apnea- where you have trouble breathing when you sleep . A home sleep apnea test is a very simplified breathing device that monitors and records your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while worn. The test results are then evaluated by a polysomnography technologist and treatment options are recommended by your doctor.

ARES™ Apnea Risk Evaluation

Our practice uses the ARES system which patients can take home and wear in the comfort of their own home and bed as a home sleep apnea test. The device is as easy to wear as a baseball cap and it records detailed information about sleep quality and any sleep related breathing events that may occur. The data is then uploaded from the machine to our physician colleagues who provide medical interpretation and diagnosis.

Overnight Sleep Study

This can also be called overnight sleep test because the patient has to stay overnight in a sleep clinic or center and be watched. It may be a better alternative for patients with certain heart, respiratory, and neuromuscular conditions. It provides for a more through assessment of a sleep problem. A sleep technologist studies your sleep patterns and picks signals like brainwaves for sleep, muscle tone, and leg movements. 

Once diagnosed, there are treatment options that can be used to treat sleep apnea. They include oral appliance, which we specialize in making custom-made mouthpieces for our patients. They are more convenient, comfortable and cost-effective. Other options are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, and surgery.

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