Human beings spend one-third of their lives asleep. It's surprising when you put it that way, but the importance of a good night's sleep can not be overestimated. Sleep is crucial to good health, so your well-being must be known if you have any issues with your sleep. Without proper sleep, your body will not be able to function correctly.
There are several sleep-related disorders. One of them is sleep apnea. This condition causes repeated breaks in breathing while you're asleep. This can have a range of adverse impacts on your health. Getting a diagnosis for this condition and following a treatment plan is critical to defeating this illness.
A sleep apnea test is a standard way to determine if you have sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated stops during breathing while you're asleep. While there are two main forms of sleep apnea, the most common one is caused by obstruction of the airways needed for breathing. This obstruction itself can be due to multiple reasons.
So, whenever breathing stops, the person wakes up. This intermittent waking prevents them from having a good, restful sleep. Lack of sleep means the person will likely feel fatigued throughout the day. Sleep apnea has even more severe consequences, such as a severely weakened immune system, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and liver issues.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are multiple types of sleep apnea, which have different symptoms and root causes.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA is perhaps the most common form of sleep apnea. As the name suggests, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by throat muscles obstructing your airways while you are asleep. A giveaway sign that obstruction causes your sleep apnea is if you are snoring. Air movement through the narrowed airways causes the sound of snoring.
Remember that just because you're snoring doesn't mean you have sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
CSA is another type of sleep apnea. CSA is caused when your brain cannot control the muscles responsible for breathing. This means a person cannot breathe, so they wake up. Central Sleep Apnea can be a symptom of other conditions, such as heart failure. There are further subcategories of central sleep apnea, classified according to the cause.
High-altitude periodic breathing is a type of central sleep apnea at high altitudes. This is because, at such heights, the ventilatory system becomes unstable.
Drug-induced sleep apnea Certain medications are also to blame for your sleep apnea. Some drugs disrupt your breathing pattern. These medications are usually antihistamines. Codeine, Oxycodone, and Morphine are some examples of medicines that might cause sleep apnea.
Cheyne-Stokes breathing is also a categorization of central sleep apnea. Cheyne-Stokes is typically caused by congestive heart failure or stroke. Approximately 50 percent of people with heart failure experience this issue.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Specific symptoms might be a tell-tale sign you have sleep apnea. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Headaches after waking up or in the morning.
Having difficulty trying to focus
Having issues trying to fall asleep
Feeling sluggish or lethargic
Lowered sexual desire, particularly in men.
Feeling sleepy during the daytime.
While these symptoms are very concerning, they can also be attributed to several other conditions. So, knowing whether or not you have sleep apnea is essential instead of going down the rabbit hole of self-diagnosis.
Sleep Apnea Testing
Since sleep apnea impacts multiple parameters of your health, such as oxygen concentration and heart and brain function, one of the tests available to check for sleep apnea is nocturnal polysomnography. This test involves close monitoring of the activity of your heart, brain, and lungs while you're asleep. It also checks for breathing patterns and the movement of your eyes and legs. This is done to examine how sound your sleep is and see if there are any lapses in breathing.
If that sounds too intimidating, another option is to have a home sleep apnea test. This test is particularly helpful for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. With this test, you’ll be given a special take-home device.
This device makes use of different components to track your vitals while you slumber. Some of them are:
A breathing sensor is placed inside your nostril and wrapped behind your ears.
An effort belt that measures breathing through the movement of your abdomen.
A pulse oximeter measures the concentration of oxygen present in your blood. This is important as those with sleep apnea will face oxygen deprivation.
You will sleep just as you normally do, except for a few instructions that your doctor will likely give you before administering a home sleep apnea test. By measuring all these parameters, the data collected will reveal whether or not you have obstructive sleep apnea.
In addition to being more convenient, a home sleep apnea test is significantly cheaper than professional nocturnal polysomnography.
After the test, you will send the results to a healthcare professional or sleep specialist so they can rule out whether or not you have sleep apnea. They will also be able to suggest an appropriate treatment plan.
Sleep apnea is a condition that can seem harmless but has far-reaching impacts on your health and well-being. Being able to know whether or not you have sleep apnea is necessary. Since sleep apnea symptoms are often a bit general and don't point toward one specific condition, getting a sleep apnea test is a good idea. Head to SleepRx to consult a sleep specialist or book an online sleep apnea test today! SleepRx also provides the best competitive rates for at-home sleep study costs so you can get a comprehensive workup of your sleep without breaking the bank!