Home Sleep Study: A Comfortable Way to Diagnose Sleep Disorders
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can undermine your overall health and quality of life. Patients who are concerned they are suffering from sleep apnea can learn more about their condition with a home sleep study. Dr. G. Brooks Haney strives to deliver compassionate, top-tier care to families in the Richardson, TX, community and has been awarded Goodfellow status with the Dallas County Dental Society.
What is a Sleep Study?
During a sleep study, a patient is monitored for approximately six hours during sleep. This process allows doctors to identify the root cause of apnea and find ways to accurately treat it. A sleep study may include:
- An electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain waves
- An electrooculogram (EOG) to measure eye and chin movements
- An electrocardiogram (EKG) to assess heart rate and rhythm
- Respiration monitoring with chest bands
- Assessment of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
- Evaluation of leg movement
One of the primary factors assessed during a sleep study is the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). Apnea is defined as complete breathing cessation lasting ten seconds or longer. A hypopnea is characterized as a constricted breath lasting ten seconds or longer. The AHI is determined by the number of apneas and hypopneas experienced by the test subject in a one-hour period.
If an in-lab study is not recommended, then a simple test can be performed at home to measure heart rate, airflow, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns.
The Referral Process
Individuals who suspect they have sleep apnea should contact a healthcare professional right away. Symptoms can be initially discussed with a primary care physician or a dentist. During this visit, your medical history will be reviewed in detail, as well as side effects that have occurred as a result of sleep apnea. If necessary, your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who will perform the necessary tests for a diagnosis.
In-Lab vs. Home Sleep Study
An in-lab sleep study is typically performed in a comfortable setting, much like a hotel room. During this assessment, advanced equipment is utilized to monitor breathing patterns and arm and leg movement as well as blood oxygen levels and lung, heart, and brain activity.
As technology advances, home sleep studies are becoming more popular. If an in-lab study is not recommended, then a simple test can be performed at home to measure heart rate, airflow, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns. In many cases, this is enough to accurately diagnose sleep apnea. However, if the results are inconclusive, an in-lab sleep study may be recommended.
What to Expect during a Home Sleep Study
The most notable benefit of a home sleep study is that patients can spend the night in their own bed, in familiar surroundings. Consequently, results are not thrown off by patients being unable to rest in an unfamiliar environment.
Patients who undergo this process are given a kit with devices that are worn during sleep. The pieces of equipment used in the study are small and typically do not interfere with sleep. These may include a finger monitor, a chest belt, and more.
Customized Treatment for Optimized Care
After your sleep study, your doctor can recommend a treatment based off of your results. Because each patient is unique, these treatments often vary for every individual. While some more severe cases may require CPAP devices, most patients can benefit from a custom oral appliance.
This device places the jaw in a more favorable position and keeps the oral soft tissues from obstructing the airway. If a sleep specialist determines that this type of treatment is right for you, our team at Smiles of North Dallas can design a personalized treatment plan to address your needs.
Diagnose Your Condition in the Comfort of Your Own Home
A home sleep study often makes the process of diagnosing and treating sleep apnea that much easier. Learn more by contacting us online or by calling us at (972) 644-9595.