A sleep apnea test may be one of the most important things you can do for yourself if you are having chronic problems sleeping properly. Often, insomnia can be related to the condition known as sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly during sleep. This is a serious issue that can have other lasting effects and should be treated as rapidly as possible.
It can be difficult for many people to determine whether they have sleep apnea, because it can often occur without waking you, so you may not even realize it is happening. Just because you don't fully awaken, however, does not mean that your sleep isn't being disrupted and this can lead to a range of side effects including drowsiness during the day, difficulty concentrating and morning headaches.
More importantly, each time your breathing is stopped, you are experiencing a lack of oxygen to your body, which can in turn lead to serious issues including high blood pressure and heart disease, stroke, and depression. For this reason, if you suspect you may suffer from the condition it is crucial that you have a sleep apnea test done so that you can get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.
Testing is generally done by a board certified sleep medicine physician and may involve one of two options: either an in-lab sleep study or at-home sleep apnea testing. In both cases, your sleep patterns are carefully monitored so that the doctor can get a better understanding of exactly what is happening and what steps may need to be taken to control your symptoms.
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As its name suggests, an in-lab sleep study is a type of test that is done in a lab environment. The lab consists of a room very reminiscent of a hotel room, where you spend the night sleeping while attached to a series of monitors that record your brain waves, heartbeat, breathing and movement. Because it is more comprehensive, an in-lab study is also more expensive and most doctors only recommend it in the most serious of cases.
If you have a high risk of obstructive sleep disorders but no other underlying medical conditions, then you may be an ideal candidate for an in-home test. This type of test allows you to be monitored using a smaller and less complex piece of equipment while sleeping in your own home. You'll be instructed on how to set up and operate the equipment yourself and the results will be evaluated once you return the equipment to your doctor.
While there may be other apps and sleep tracking devices that claim to detect sleep apnea, in-lab studies and at-home testing monitored by your own physician are the only legitimate, recognized forms of sleep apnea test, so don't be fooled. This is too important a subject to take lightly, as it can have serious prolonged effects on your overall health.
Once you've undergone one of these tests, your physician can then evaluate the results and determine what the best course of action for treatment is. Fortunately, sleep apnea is fairly easily treated, generally with the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device or, in more serious cases, with surgery. No matter what the case for you, the first step is always to have the proper testing done so that you can get the answers you need and get back to sleeping comfortably.