Sleep apnea is a sleep condition characterized by the patient’s breathing being temporarily disrupted. This is due to an obstructed airway in the back of the throat. The episodes of breathing cessation can last more than twenty seconds. Nearly 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and more than half of cases go undiagnosed.
It seems like it would be a simple diagnosis. Is sleep apnea something that individuals can try to diagnose themselves? The short answer is yes–with an emphasis on the word ‘try.’ Individuals can use at-home sleep tests to get an idea of what’s going on while they are sleeping. If their at-home diagnosis suggests sleep apnea, usually they should go to a sleep clinic to confirm.
Self diagnosing any illness or disorder is somewhat limited. There is no way to know definitively if your diagnosis is accurate. It can also be dangerous to self diagnose an illness based solely off of symptoms. Although, sleep apnea is a disorder that is not too difficult to self diagnose.
At-home sleep tests
At-home sleep tests are effortless to use. The patient uses a breathing monitor to track their breathing and oxygen levels during sleep. The drawback of an at-home sleep test is that it does not provide as much information as an overnight study at a sleep clinic.
What to know about at-home sleep tests
- They have to be ordered by a doctor or dentist
- They do not monitor or track sleep, instead, they solely monitor breathing
- They are convenient and simple to use
- They do not necessarily confirm or disprove a sleep apnea diagnosis, instead, they provide insights that may lead to a proper diagnosis
- They may detect related sleep issues besides sleep apnea
Whether you opt for an at-home sleep test or an overnight sleep study in a sleep clinic, if you have an obstructed airway that is causing breathing to stop, you may have sleep apnea and should seek a diagnosis from a physician and the right treatment.
For some puzzling reason, many people don’t consider sleep apnea an urgent medical issue. Why? We are talking about breathing, folks! There isn’t a biological function more indispensable than breathing. And substandard sleep can cause a plethora of serious health issues. It also impacts performance in every area of life; work, leisure pursuits, and relationships.
Drs. Almeida at Almeida & Bell Aesthetic Dental Center is a specialist in dental therapy for sleep apnea. Thus, he can order an at-home sleep test or overnight sleep study in order to properly diagnose sleep apnea.
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