Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition. It is crucial that you get tested if you are at risk for sleep apnea. It could save your life and others. But many people don’t like the thought of going to a sleep lab for a test. It can be inconvenient. It may make you uncomfortable to think of sleeping in a lab with strangers around. And it can be expensive.
Fortunately, an at-home sleep apnea test may be appropriate for 70-80% of suspected sleep apnea patients. From a functional standpoint, an at-home test is comparable to lab tests, so you can likely get tested in the comfort of your own bed.
Must My Doctor Diagnose Sleep Apnea before I Come to You?
No. Although our primary focus is on sleep apnea treatment, we can help people get tested for sleep apnea. We can work with you, your insurance company, your doctor, and a sleep doctor to make sure you get an appropriate evaluation of your sleep. We can arrange for a sleep test at a lab or at home, depending on what’s best for you.
What Is an At-Home Test Like?
In order to get an at-home sleep test, you may need to talk to your physician, but not always! Many insurance companies require that the sleep test be monitored and evaluated by a sleep physician. This is also the position of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The good news is this is all we do all day every day, so we can help you navigate the best path for your particular situation.
An at-home sleep test monitors a number of important aspects of your sleep, including air flow, blood oxygenation, breathing effort, and sometimes others. The sleep test will have tubes that fit in your nostrils and another unit that may be worn on your head or chest. It may have other sensors that need to be placed on other parts of your body.
Then you just put it on and sleep. When you wake up in the morning, depending on where you got the testing unit from, you just drop it off locally at our office or your doctor’s office, mail the unit to an independent testing center, or even upload the data from home.
Who Can Use an At-Home Sleep Apnea Test?
The people who are recommended for sleep tests include people who already have a strong suspicion they have sleep apnea and no other sleep disorders. In these cases, the sleep test can confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea with a high degree of certainty.
At-home sleep tests are also appropriate for people who have a hard time getting to a sleep lab, due to immobility or just because there isn’t one around.
At-home sleep tests may be recommended if you aren’t able to get good results from a lab test because of the unfamiliar setting.
Finally, at-home sleep apnea tests are sometimes used to make sure your oral appliance therapy or other sleep apnea treatment is working properly.
When At-Home Testing Might Not Be Appropriate
On the other hand, some people are not right for an at-home sleep apnea test. For example, you might have a marginal case the at-home test might miss. However, other sleep disorders can interfere with at-home sleep testing, as can some medical conditions. In these cases you might have to get a lab test for your sleep apnea.
The best way to learn which is most appropriate for you is to talk to your physician or a sleep dentist. In Omaha, please call the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center at (402) 493-4175 today to learn more.