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What to Expect if your Doctor Suspects Sleep Apnea

Doctor Suspects Sleep Apnea

So, the doctor has recommended an overnight sleep test. Chances are, you went to the doctor with complaints about daytime sleepiness, or maybe your partner alerted you about snoring or even irregular breathing patterns during sleep.  At this point, the doctor probably mentioned the term: Sleep Apnea.

Once the doctor suspects Sleep Apnea, there are a couple of tests that help determine a proper diagnosis. These tests are usually scheduled through Aeroflow Healthcare, industry leaders in sleep apnea testing and treatment. Soon thereafter, one of Aeroflow’s staff members calls to answer any questions you have and tell you when the test will arrive so you can plan to take it right away.  Their goals are to make sure you are comfortable and know what to expect.

There are two kinds of overnight tests most commonly sent to our patients.  The first one is called an overnight pulse oximetry test and the second is an unattended sleep study.  These tests are shipped to your home complete with instructions, return postage and information on how you can contact a representative any time, day or night.

The process begins with the overnight pulse oximetry test.  The testing device itself is not much bigger than a television remote.  It is equipped with a finger probe to be placed over the end of your finger.  A red light and an infrared light shines through your finger to detect the color of your blood.  The brightness of the red indicates your blood oxygen level.  The display on the testing device shows a reading of your pulse and your blood oxygen, also referred to as SPO2. After the pulse oximetry test has been downloaded, our clinicians interpret the results and forward recommendations to your doctor.

Sometimes, an unattended sleep study is ordered based on the results.  This second test gives your doctor a detailed look of your sleep behavior. This test measures your pulse and blood oxygen as well, but it also measures other important factors, including different sleep stages from deep sleep to REM to wakefulness.  It measures snoring, snoring intensity, and it can detect if and when you stop breathing, known as events of apnea.  There are a few different options for this kind of test, so please be sure to inquire for more information.  Your comfort is very important to us.

When the information from the unattended sleep study is processed, it is sent to a board-certified sleep physician to interpret and recommend treatment, or lifestyle changes that may alleviate some of your symptoms.  Note that some contributing factors to the cause of sleep apnea can be underlying, such as depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and even Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Treatment options also vary, from a Mandiblular Advancement Splint or CPAP.  A Mandiblular Advancement Splint keeps your jaw in position that your airway is more likely to stay open during sleep. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine assists in consistent breathing during sleep to reduce events of apnea and promote proper oxygenation.  Either way, if treatment is recommended, Aeroflow is there for you every step of the way, from testing to compliance and beyond.  If you have any further questions about sleep apnea, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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