Sleep Apnea – Home test

In a previous post, I talked about the different kinds of tests for sleep apnea.  One is a home sleep study.  This is becoming more common due to the cost difference.  A home study is generally below $500.00 where a inpatient one can run well over $2000.00.  If you have to have the test, I would strongly advise getting the home study kit from the hospital instead of having one mailed to you.

When I needed a new cpap machine (due to the fact my 10 year old one had died), I didn’t want to go to the hospital like I had before so my GP just ordered one from a local home health supply company.  It was in my opinion a joke.

It was basically one strap which went around my chest which was attached to the monitor.  There was also an oxygen meter that went on my finger.  I slept with it that night and then shipped it back the next day.  When the results came back, per it, I did not have sleep apnea but did need oxygen.

I knew this was not accurate as I have just spent 5 weeks in the hospital and was required to sleep with a machine every night.  I would be woke up by the pulmonary nurses sometimes to adjust the machine.  The only time I had to have oxygen during that stay was when I was heavily sedated.

So, I went back to my doctor and said I wanted an inpatient study which proved that I did have sleep apnea as I already knew.  But, when my husband needed one that was ordered by his pulmonologist, he ordered it from the hospital and it was much more detailed.

So, back to the way a home sleep study works.

  1.  You will pick up your machine at the hospital.  While you are there, the nurses will go over all the instructions with you.  There is also a booklet in the bag that goes over it in case you go home and want to make sure you set it up right.  The actual machine that is recording the results is about the size of several decks of cards.
  2. When you get ready for bed that night, you will put the machine on.  His had two straps with velcro ends.  One goes around your chest and the other one was lower.  Both of these had leads that connected to the monitor.
  3. There was also a oxygen monitor that went on the finger with an additional strap to try to hold it there.  This had a lead to it to connect it to the machine.
  4. This test came with a nose piece to make sure he was breathing right.  It was one of those that look like the oxygen you get when in the hospital.  They gave us tape to put on his face to hold it in place.  Once again, there was a lead to connect it to the machine.
  5. You also get a diary to keep track of when you go to sleep, wake up to go to the bathroom, get up in the morning
  6. The next day you take it all off and return it to the hospital.
  7. I know it seems like you would never be able to go to sleep with all this on but it is not as bad as you think.  I would advise using the tape to keep the face gear in place as my husband’s came off during sleep so he had to redo the test.  He has a full beard and that probably affected it
  8. It took about a week for the results to come back and now we both have identical machines.

Sleep Apnea – What Your Doctor Might Ask To Determine IF You Need A Sleep Study

As I mentioned in the earlier post, there are several different things your doctor will look at to determine whether he/she wants to test you for sleep apnea.   Some BUT NOT ALL are:

Weight  – If  your BMI (body mass index) is higher than 25, you are at a greater risk of sleep apnea.   This is not always the case as slender people have been know to have it.

Age – Although sleep apnea  happens at any age, it is more common among adulthood to middle age.

Male versus Female – Men have a higher chance of having sleep apnea but the risk increases in women during and after menopause.

High Blood Pressure – This is another thing the doctor will take into consideration as it is common in people with sleep apnea.

Does someone in your family have it? – Believe it or not, this is a heritable condition.  However, that is possibly due to inherited traits like weight and physical features.  Of course, some of this could be due to chosen habits like exercising and/or eating.

Family history – Sleep apnea is a heritable condition. This means that you have a higher risk of sleep apnea if a family member also has it. Inherited traits that increase the risk for sleep apnea include obesity and physical features such as a recessed jaw. Other common family factors – such as physical activity and eating habits – also may play a role.

Headaches – Another possible hint is headaches, especially morning headaches.

If you go in for any surgeries, they will go through a sleep apnea questionnaire which checks on most of the top symptoms.  Naturally they will want to know about snoring, waking up tired, gasping during sleep, etc.

If you have several of the above, your doctor may order a sleep apnea test.  There are a couple basic ways to test for sleep apnea.  In the next post, we will look at the differences between them.

Do you have any questions about sleep apnea?  How were you diagnosed?  Are you doing ok with your machine?