Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder wherein someone asleep will experience shallow breaths or even pauses in breathing. The pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Moreover, these pauses may occur over 30 times in the course of an hour. Once the breathing resumes, the person would either snort loudly or make choking sounds.
People who are overweight or obese are more prone to sleep apnea. The soft tissue in the mouth and throat relax during sleep, thereby causing the airway to become blocked. A closed off airway reduces or stops breathing during sleep, and that is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is unhealthy and can indicate some serious underlying disease which calls for proper diagnosis. You can start with a self-administered diagnosis in your own bed
. If symptoms are all there, then an individual can seek consultation with sleep specialists or visit sleep centers for more tests for validation and treatment.
Self-help sleep apnea test entails answering certain questions that will help one develop an idea if sleep apnea exists. There are certain questions one cannot answer because what happens in sleep is only observable to other people.
The value, though, of home test for sleep apnea cannot be discounted. Just a couple of years ago, Medicare extended the privilege of paying for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines of senior patients diagnosed to have sleep apnea based on the results of home-administered tests. This came as instigation from the government based on the statistics that about 18 million Americans are afflicted with it but less than half is aware of their predicament.
Medical diagnosis of sleep apnea is an expensive process and this forms another basis for the US government's stepping in the Medicare provisions. Sleep apnea tests done in sleep centers and by sleep specialists include polysomnogram or sleep study. It has many components that can transmit and record activities in sleep electronically. The data is evaluated by qualified sleep specialists to confirm suspicions or to recommend other allied tests to narrow down specific underlying reasons. If you suspect yourself or a loved one to have sleep apnea, it would be a good idea to try and learn more
about the different tests you can administer at home.
Some of the tests that can help in the identification of some definite causes are:
• Electroencephalogram or EEG -
this is done to measure and record the activities of brain waves.
• Electromyogram or EMG -
this is done while one sleeps to record activities of the muscles like teeth grinding, face twitching, and movements of the leg. It is also done to monitor Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
• Electro-oculogram or EOG -
records eye movements during REM when a sleeping person's brain goes through heightened activity, thereby causing intense dreams. The eye movements are recorded to determine the different stages of sleep.
• Electrocardiogram or ECG -
this is used to record heart rate and rhythm.
A sleep apnea test is useful whether it is self-administered or medically-supervised. It's important to know more
and be able to determine if one has the disorder so that treatment may be administered.