A sleep apnea study will diagnose sleep apnea but also monitor your condition if you already have a diagnosis.
Sleep studies are tests that measure how well you sleep and how your body responds to any sleep disorders. These tests can help your doctor find out whether you have a sleep problem and how severe it is.
Sleep studies are important because untreated sleep disorders can increase the risk of other medical conditions such as strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious conditions. See the list of Sleep Apnea Side Effects. Sleep disorders can also increase the risk of injury, through accidents at work and car accidents.
I have had several sleep studies and not all of them are the same. If you are due to have a sleep study please ask your doctor what will happen during the study. I had a sleep study where they put a tube up the nose and down the throat followed by a camera and it was really unpleasant and unexpected, so I always check beforehand before a study, what is actually going to happen.
There are different waking tests you can have done but I have never had one of these, they measure your sleep - wake behaviour.
The usual sleep apnea study is called a polysomnogram. You will have belts around your chest and stomach to measure chest movements and also to support the mini computer box. Little electrodes will be attached to your skin, your scalp, face, chest and legs which have little wires attached. These are all very painless and not too difficult to sleep with.
The study records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, snoring, chest movements, blood pressure, and oxygen in the blood. A sound recording and video recording are usually used as well. After the sleep study all the data is sent to your doctor.
Sometimes a sleep apnea study can't be done in a hospital or clinic for various reasons. I had a study done at the Bostonia which was unsuccessful so I had a home study done. This usually involves going to the hospital or clinic in the evening, where they wire you up ready for the home study and this is completely painless so don't worry.
The test will monitor:
When you get home and get into bed you connect the wires to a little box and you go to sleep. It's very easy to operate. The next morning you go back to the hospital or clinic where they take all the wires off and download your sleep data. The information is then fed back to the doctor.
Your sleep study results will include information about your sleep, how long you slept for and the sleep stages. It will also record your wake times, the number of times your woke during the night. Any abnormal breathing, pauses in breathing, will be recorded and the amount of oxygen in your blood, and any movement during sleep. All readings are taken through a computer programme via little electrodes attached to your body, you will also be sound recorded and video recorded.
All this data is sent back to your doctor who will diagnose whether or not you have a sleep disorder and a treatment plan if necessary. You will continue to be monitored by your doctor to establish if recommended treatments are working and future care plans.
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