A Guide to the Home Sleep Test

June 10th, 2019 by Vishal Saini

Do you wake up tired, feel headaches or your mouth is dry every morning? If yes, then you may be suffering from Obstructive sleep apnea. To find out whether you are suffering from it or is there another sleeping disorder, you need to test your sleep. But before moving to the test process, let’s talk about Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea happens due to interruption of breathing during sleep producing the snoring sound. Throat and chest help you in breathing. Body muscles including these relax while sleep. The relaxed throat muscles cause partial or complete obstruction of the upper airways interrupting your breath.

To figure out sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder, a test called polysomnography (sleep study) is available. The typical way to do this is, the patient has to sleep in the sleep lab at night where sensors are attached to his body. The polysomnography equipment records the patient’s sleep data. However, with the advanced technology, the polysomnography home test is also possible, and it’s known as Home Sleep Test (HST) or Home Sleep Study.

Home Sleep Apnea Test an Overview

Home sleep apnea testing is a way to find out whether you are suffering from trouble breathe or not. It provides all the information necessary for your doctor to diagnose sleep apnea at home. It is very effective and cost friendly test to process. It is a breathing monitor designed to record your breathing not your actual sleep, oxygen levels, efforts that you make to breathe while sleep. As the name suggests, it allows you to sleep at your home with attached equipment and sensors that capture your breath during sleep. It is so easy that you can set up the entire equipment individually.

There are different kinds of home sleep test devices in the market having different equipment and sensors to take a home sleep test. Some are so advanced that they also track your heart rate, muscle tone, and leg movements.

If your sleeping partner complains you snore and gasp, or you have disturbed sleep or you feel sleepy in the day, and you are heavyweight, home sleep apnea test is the right thing to do. Talk to your Board – Certified physician about your symptoms and he may recommend home sleep testing services to you.

The home sleep test carries out when you have a high chance of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea or its done when you are not suffering from any other significant medical conditions.

But, you should avoid home sleep apnea test if,

  • You don’t have a high risk of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Your physician finds out that you may have another sleep disorder
  • You are suffering from a certain medical condition like pulmonary diseases, congestive
  • Heart failure or neuromuscular diseases.

In the above cases, in-lab sleep test would be better and safe than home sleep apnea test. In-lab test provides more detailed and comprehensive readings of your sleep.

What HST measures

  • Blood oxygen saturation
  • Heart rate
  • Airflow
  • Respiratory effort
  • Movement in the chest and abdomen
  • Sleep positions
  • Time spent snoring

Pros of Home Sleep Test

  • The patient spends the night in his own bed in the familiar environment making him feel comfortable and reducing first night effect.
  • The cost is very less as compared to the in-lab sleep study producing similar results for obstructive sleep apnea.
    It is advantageous to home-bound, elderly, and people with chronic illness who need special care by a nurse or a family member.
  • It also helps people who find it hard to schedule a night at the lab because of their busy life.
  • More convenient and accessible
  • Cons of home sleep test
  • It may underestimate the level of seriousness of your sleep apnea, though it should detect whether you have it or not.
  • You will get fewer results as compared to test performed in a lab, which can detect across 80 different types of sleep disorder other than the sleep apnea (the most common sleeping disorder)
  • You won’t have access to the staff in your bedroom to make sure that you have attached the equipment correctly and everything set up correctly.
  • During the night, no instructor/staff can fix the problem.

How It Works

A home sleep apnea test aim is to record the data about your sleep.

Precautions

Some points that you should keep thinking to get the accurate and effective information of your test are:

Follow your routine life cycle as it will help in to capture the real results of your routine sleep.
Avoid napping as it may cause you difficulty in sleep at night.
Don’t use things which have caffeine in them after having lunch because it may keep you awake late at night.

Besides these, if you are taking your routine medication, you must speak to your physician about the test. He may recommend you to pause your medication for the test.

To undergo the home sleep apnea test at home, you should have the equipment at your home. Visit the doctor’s clinic to get the equipment, or ask for home delivery.

Before the test, a sleep team member will guide you on how to use the machine and carry out the online sleep test. If you didn’t get any anything or have some confusion or questions, you should ask them so you don’t have any trouble in the test process.

On your scheduled night go to sleep on your regular bedtime just like other nights. When you are ready to sleep, set up the machine and attach the sensor to your body as instructed by the instructor. To start the device you may ask to press the button on the sleep test device before you feel sleepy. Detach the sensors when you wake up early morning. Send the machine back to the center.

Results

The next step is to diagnose the recording and produce the results done by the professional team. They collect the data and analyze the information. The entire process may take a few days or weeks. The sleep physician will approach you to show you the report and will discuss to you. For unsatisfied and ambiguous results, he may recommend you to undergo a test in the lab.

You may ask for an in-lab sleep study if your HST did not capture enough information to make a complete diagnose, or the HST results declare that you are not having obstructive sleep apnea and your physician suspects you may have a different sleeping disorder. To clear these doubts, an additional in-lab study would be necessary.

After carrying out all the tests, if your report says you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, your certified sleep physician will come up with different types of treatment. If you are willing to the treatment a plan will be made to treat your obstructive sleep apnea.

Conclusion

A Home Sleep Test (HST) is a reliable and convenient way to figure out if you have sleep apnea (a Sleep disorder). Healthy sleep gives you more energy and has a positive impact on your quality of life whereas interrupted or uncomfortable sleep makes your daily life tasks poor. Sleep apnea also promotes other diseases like obesity, high blood sugar. So, taking a Home Sleep Test is a necessary step to take for a healthy and energetic life.


What is Sleeping Disorder and Types of Sleeping Disorder Tests?

June 2nd, 2019 by Vishal Saini

Sleeping disorder is regarded as the problem with the time, quality and amount of sleep that can cause problems with the functioning and also distress during the day time. There are many types of sleeping disorders where insomnia is considered to be the most common one. There are other sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. The sleeping problems linked to not only physical problems but also mental problems. It can contribute to a mental health condition or it can be a symptom of other mental health condition.

It has been reported that in primary care, there is 10-20 percentage of people who have complained of the significant sleep problems while one-third of the adults have reported insomnia symptoms while 6-10 percentage of people meet up with the criteria of the insomnia disorder.

Having a sound sleep makes sure that your brain functions on a proper basis. Poor quality sleep has many potential consequences. The major and obvious concerns are decreased energy, fatigue, problems focusing and irritability. Decision-making ability and mood will also be affected. Sleep problems also coexist with the symptoms of anxiety or depression. There can also be chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease due to too much sleep or lack of sleep. The sleep disturbance can also be a problem indication of a neurological or medical problem like osteoarthritis, heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease.

The first and foremost thing to try is obviously changing your sleeping habits. For example, he/she can:

  1. Going to bed and waking up at the same time
  2. Not napping during the day
  3. Not doing stressful chores
  4. Being relaxed before bedtime. One can try praying, deep breathing, journaling, meditating, and gentle stretching.
  5. Keeping the bedroom quiet, dark and cool. If you want, you can use eye shades or earplugs.
  6. If you cannot sleep, you can go to another room and read or you can do something which relaxes you.
  7. Avoid caffeine in any manner
  8. Do not drink alcohol and do not smoke
  9. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  10. You should avoid any large meals before bedtime
  11. You should not use phones or laptops before bed.

There are many sleeping disorder tests which will lead to a better understanding of what the problem is. The many options include:

1. Overnight Oximetry

This is regarded as one of the most general and simple forms of the earliest sleep study that is conducted on the patient. This involves the use of the probe which is worn on the earlobe or the finger that continuously measures the oxygen levels and heart rate. This is said to be accomplished with the red light and the sensor that detects the changes in the color of the blood which implies that the desaturations are occurring. This sleeping disorder tests done at home while sleeping.

2. Actigraphy

This is the measurement of the activity which is with the usage of a small, wristwatch-sized device. This device is said to monitor the movements and can also be used to assess the sleep-wake cycles, which is over an extended period of time. The device is worn for weeks or even months. This device will help decide if the disruptions of the sleep-wake cycle exist or not, as this may occur in the circadian rhythm disorders like delayed sleep phase syndrome, advanced sleep phase syndrome, or even insomnia.

3. Polysomnography (PSG)

This is known as the gold standard test for the diagnosis of sleep disorders. This involves a visit to the sleep centre that consists of a specially designated room in the hospital, specially equipped hotel or a sleep laboratory. These sleep studies can involve an overnight stay which is monitored by a trained technician. There are various parameters monitored, which are psychological in nature, like EKG, EEG, oxygen levels, respiration, eye, and extremity movements and muscle tone. There is also audio and video recording which can provide a record from the night’s sleep. These sleeping disorder tests can determine restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, etc.

4. Titration Study

Titration with the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is said to be commonly done during the same night as that of diagnostic polysomnogram (PSG), in order to save waiting time. Early treatment will reduce cardiovascular complications of sleep apnea. The technician will increase the CPAP pressure which is delivered through a soft mask to the level which eliminates all or most of the episodes of the cessation of breathing. This level of the CPAP pressure will be prescribed for home therapy. The patient will begin the night on low pressure of the CPAP. As the person goes to sleep, there will be a monitor for the disruptions in breathing.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders but the most common ones include restless leg syndrome, insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. When you have sleep apnea, you will stop breathing briefly, which is several times a night. For this, your doctor will make an evaluation which is based on signs and symptoms and also on your sleep history. You will also be referred to a sleep test centre. Over there, sleep specialists will help you know if you require further evaluation or not. The evaluation generally constitutes of overnight monitoring at the sleep centre of the patients breathing and the other body functions during sleep. Home testing is also regarded as an option.

The sleeping disorder tests (apnea test) includes:

  1. Nocturnal polysomnography: At this test, the patient is hooked up to equipment which monitors the patient’s brain, heart, and lung activity. The equipment also monitors the arm and leg movement, breathing pattern, and also the oxygen levels while the patient is asleep.
  2. Home Sleep test: The doctor will provide the patient with a simplified test which can be used at home in order to diagnose the sleep apnea. These tests measure the patients’ blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing pattern, and airflow.

If the results turn out to be abnormal, the doctor will prescribe a therapy, which is without any further testing. The portable monitoring devices do not detect all cases of sleep apnea. However, the doctor will still recommend the polysomnography, even if the initial results have turned out to be normal.

There is also online sleep test where you will have to answer a few questions i.e. a yes or no questionnaire. The sleep test result will help you determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea or not and you should further discuss these symptoms with a sleep specialist or physician.

Sleep apnea in children is a serious disorder which has to be treated. You can schedule an appointment with any of the accredited sleep disorder centre. There are also some centres which specialize in helping children. There will be a sleep specialist who will review the child’s history and symptoms. If required, the doctor will also schedule the child for an overnight sleep study test. This study is called a polysomnogram. This is regarded as the best way to evaluate your child’s sleep. Through the result of this study, the doctor will be able to develop an individual treatment plan, which is for your child.


Coronary Heart Disease: It’s Impact on Sleep

April 24th, 2019 by Vishal Saini

Sleep is an indispensable part of human body, which is very crucial for smooth and proper functioning of the body. Sleep can be affected by various adverse factors, which could be illness, injury, environment change, hormonal disturbances or aging.

Coronary heart disease is one of the factors responsible for significantly affecting sleep in patients with heart conditions. Coronary heart disease means narrowing of the blood vessels which supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscles. Common symptoms of coronary heart disease are but not limited to pain in the chest and arms, sweating, dizziness, breathlessness (just to list a few of them).
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Sleep Apnea and Kidney function

April 27th, 2018 by Vishal Saini

Effect of Sleep Apnea on Kidney function in patients with Type 2 Diabetes


Sleep apnea is a dysfunctional breathing which involves temporary collapsing of the upper airway during sleep. Sleep apnea can impact health of a diabetic patient in many ways. It can cause hyperglycemia, which is increase in blood sugar levels further worsening the condition. Sleep apnea can also worsen the kidney function by increasing the albumin excretion and it is seen in more exacerbated form in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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Obstructive sleep apnea and risk of cardiovascular events

March 9th, 2018 by Vishal Saini

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been reported to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A decade-long research study was done using the database of over 10,000 individuals who underwent sleep testing.

What are cardiovascular events?

It is a class of disease that involves heart or blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease includes but not limited to heart attack, hypertension, stroke, heart failure, angina, or thromboembolism (formation of blood clots). To assess the effect of sleep apnea researchers studied its association with the risk of occurrence of cardiac events like myocardial infarction, stroke, exacerbation of congestive heart failure, and coronary artery bypass surgery. In comparison to normal population, people in high risk group are more prone to develop cardiovascular disease due to obstructive sleep apnea. The high risk group includes elderly people, male gender, prior diabetes, prior hypertension, prior stroke, prior MI, prior CHF, prior COPD, and smokers.
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Sleep Apnea and Parkinson’s disease

February 23rd, 2018 by Vishal Saini

Relationship between sleep apnea and Parkinson’s disease

Many of you might be wondering how sleep apnea is linked to Parkinson’s disease which can cause a significant impact on the life of an individual. A clinical trial was conducted on over 9,000 people with sleep apnea to assess it’s correlation with development of Parkinson’s disease. The results of this research has shown a positive correlation between sleep apnea and development of Parkinson disease specially in female population.
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Is menopause affecting quality of your sleep?

February 11th, 2018 by Vishal Saini

What is menopause?

Are you experiencing hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness along with tossing and turning in your bed due to lack of sleep? If answer to these questions is yes, then you are in the phase of menopause.
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