Is there a Sleep Apnea test?
If you have symptoms of moderate to severe sleep apnea, your medical doctor may have advised you that it is time to undergo a sleep apnea test. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which one’s breathing become irregular to the point where the breathing stops all together. There are varying levels of intensity when it comes to sleep apnea and usually the telltale sign that someone is suffering from sleep apnea is seen in the symptoms. Sleep apnea symptoms include snoring in some cases, morning headaches, mood changes, irritability, and extreme fatigue. In order to determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea a sleep disorder test is usually needed. Since the symptoms of sleep apnea match that of many other medical conditions the only way to be sure is undergo a series of sleep apnea testing.
What to expect from a test for sleep apnea?
The most common type of sleep apnea test is that of a polysomnogram. This is machine that will transmit and record the specific activities of your brain during sleep. This machine will measure and record how often you breathe, how often you stop breathing and other cardiac and respiratory functions to help determine if you have sleep apnea or another type of sleeping disorders.
This test for sleep apnea is usually done in a lab like setting and often done at places where they conduct sleep studies. During the sleep testing one will be hooked up to equipment and the entire process will be monitored and recorded. The machine may look a bit uncomfortable at first but most people who undergo sleep apnea testing do report being able to fall asleep right away.
During the apnea test electrodes will be placed on the face and scalp. It is the electrodes that will measure the electrical signals that are sent throughout your body. The signals are generated by both brain activity and muscles activity. It is the two of these functions that can help to determine if you have sleep apnea. Belts will also be placed around your chest and abdomen during sleep apnea tests. The purpose of the belts are to measure the amount of breathing that occurs during sleep. Lastly, there will be a small probe that is placed on your finger. This is also a routine part of sleep testing and can help to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
After the study is completed the sleep apnea test results will be reviewed and in most cases forwarded to your doctor. The sleep apnea test results are usually ready after just a few hours of completing the sleep apnea testing.
Other tests and equipment that can be used as a test for sleep apnea
While the polysomnogram is the main tool that is used in testing for sleep apnea, there are some other devices that can also help to determine if one has sleep apnea. These include the following:
- EEG machine can be used to measure and record brain waves
- EMG machine can be used to record muscle activity such as face twitching or teeth grinding
- Nasal air flow sensor is used to record the amount of airflow
- ECG machine is used to record the heart rate and heart rhythm
- EOG machine can be used to measure the eye movements
- Snore microphone can also be used to help record and determine snoring activity.
Having sleep apnea testing done is critical as many cases of sleep apnea go undetected. Women in particular are often misdiagnosed so if you or someone you know may be suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea it would be a great idea to undergo some sleep apnea testing.
Some people would much rather stay at home then try and sleep in a lab. These people will try and do a home sleep apnea test. This is the process of recording your sleep via a video camera or a tape recorder to hear the patterns of your sleep. While a home sleep apnea test is not a bad idea it cannot be used a definitive tool for determining if one has sleep apnea. It is a great idea to record your sleeping to listen for breathing patterns however once you have recorded the sleep it is best to consult with your doctor. They may be able to hear the issues right away on the tape or in most cases they will order you to undergo some traditional tests for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea does need to be treated and if left untreated can lead to some very serious medical conditions.