A sleep study is a test that is performed to identify the cause of your sleep problems. The common cause of sleep disorders is sleep apnea. The doctors may recommend a home sleep study if they find out that your sleep disorder is due to obstructive sleep apnea.
A home sleep study is a convenient and non-invasive way to diagnose sleep apnea. It is recommended if your doctor suspects you have obstructive sleep apnea. It involves wearing a small, comfortable device that records respiratory and cardiac functions while you sleep at home.
What Is a Home Sleep Test?
A home sleep test is performed at night in a patient’s own bed. The patient wears a small, lightweight sensor that records the oxygen levels in the blood, heart rate, and breathing patterns. The results are then transmitted to a central computer, where an oxygen saturation graph can be viewed in real-time using a modem.
Home Sleep Test Procedure
When you visit your doctor's office, the doctor will put on the sensors on your body and record your vital signs, such as oxygen saturation, heart rate, and breathing, for about 8 hours. The doctor will ask you to wear them for one week before the test so that you can get adjusted to them.
During the test, the doctor will ask you not to use any CPAP machine or other devices during your sleep. This way, they can get an accurate reading of your breathing during natural sleep. If you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication, please inform your doctor about it before starting the procedure.
The data collected from the sensors is sent to the office by modem and stored in the the doctor's computer system so that the doctor can analyze it later. You can also watch the readings whenever you want using the doctor's computer system and printer.
What Are the Results of Home Sleep Tests?
The results of home sleep tests are similar to those obtained from regular overnight sleep studies done. Home sleep tests work well for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. They also help identify other factors that can interfere with your sleep, such as periodic limb movement disorder, restless legs syndrome, and sleep-related breathing disorders like hypopnea and upper airway resistance syndrome.
What Is Follow-Up After Home Sleep Test?
After getting the results from the home sleep test, your doctor will conduct another study to determine whether you need treatment for obstructive sleep apnea or not. The doctor may also recommend additional tests if necessary, such as imaging studies or blood tests.
The doctor will discuss with you whether you want to start using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or not after getting the results of the home sleep study.
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