Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that is very serious as it can cause you to stop breathing while you are asleep. If you suspect that you do suffer from sleep apnea, the best way to confirm diagnosis is through a sleep study. Sleep apnea tests need to be done before you can get treated.
So many people may not realize that they suffer from sleep apnea or how they get tested for one. Here at CK Dental, we will explain how you may get tested for sleep apnea and what is done during the test.
A sleep study is usually conducted in a sleep clinic or a hospital, where you spend a night or more sleeping while being monitored. During the study, the following parameters are usually measured.
- Brain activity (electroencephalogram or EEG.) An EEG allows the doctor to monitor your brain activity throughout the night and to see if your brain has any abnormalities.
- Eye movement (electrooculogram or EOG.) An EOG is used to determine how many times the patient has awoken throughout the night and is used to track the rate the eyes move.
- Muscle activity (electromyogram or EMG.) An EMG test is done by measuring the muscle activity in your mouth and throat by placing small electronic disks on your neck or chin to measure any activity there.
- Heart rate and rhythm (electrocardiogram or EKG.) An EKG is used to monitor your heartbeat rhythms. It can be used in a sleep apnea test to determine your breathing patterns and to see if you are pumping enough oxygen throughout your body.
- Blood oxygen saturation (pulse oximetry.) This is commonly done to test how much oxygen is in your blood while you are sleeping. If you do not have enough oxygen in your blood, it can cause brain damage from oxygen starvation.
- Breathing patterns (nasal airflow sensor and respiratory effort sensor.) This test determines how you breathe while you are asleep. This is important to know as it can show the doctors how you have an abdominal breathing pattern that causes sleep apnea.
Based on these parameters, a specialist can determine if you have sleep apnea and the severity of the condition.
If visiting a sleep clinic is not an option for you, there are also home sleep study kits available that can be used to measure some of these parameters while you sleep at home. These kits will not be as precise or as good as going to a sleep clinic or the hospital but will still be able to give you a rough diagnosis.
However, before you conduct a home test, it is important to consult a doctor, medical specialist, or sleep specialist before attempting any home sleep study to ensure that it is appropriate for your situation.
Here at CK Dental in the Lakewood, CO, area, our professional dentists will help you with all your dental needs, from sleep apnea dentistry to cosmetic dentistry. Book an appointment and let our friendly medical staff help you get a full night’s sleep.