Should I do a Sleep Study?
If you or a close relative suffers from loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep or excessive daytime tiredness, then you could be one of the 80% of people who suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. If you believe you might be at risk, you should always take a sleep study.
If you have been suffering from the symptoms above, then there is a very good chance that you are suffering from the respiratory sleeping disorder, sleep apnea. Other symptoms that you might be affected by are experiencing changes in mood, irritability, anxiety and depression.
Sleep apnea can take over many aspects of yours and your partners life if left untreated.
- If you do not treat sleep apnea, you put yourself more at risk of having long term health complications. Some further complications include heart failure, diabetes and stroke.
- It can cause your relationships to suffer – If you do not treat your sleep apnea, then your partner or family member will suffer too. They will lose many hours of sleep too, if you snore loudly at night. They will also lose quality time with you as they will experience your frequent changes in mood, irritability, depression and your constant tiredness during the day.
- Having untreated sleep apnea can cause your work life to suffer too. If you are constantly getting a lack of quality sleep, then you will be more forgetful and unable to concentrate on projects. You might also be feeling drowsy and falling asleep at your desk, or worse, if your job involves the motor industry, you might also be falling asleep at the wheel involving fatality.
- It is believed that people with OSA who are left untreated are nine times more likely to be involved in a road accident. It is estimated that up to 20% of road accidents could be prevented if sleep apnea was treated.
Having a quality night of sleep on average is vital as it plays a huge impact on your overall physical health, mental health and quality of life. How you feel in the day is often directly related to the quality of sleep you are getting at night.
Great quality of sleep is essential for our minds to repair and rejuvenate our muscle tissues and bones, to restore energy, to regulate hormones which are key to development and growth and to boost our immune systems.
Other than our daily routine and social life taking over our sleeping hours, some people struggle to sleep due to undiagnosed sleeping disorders.
Many people may not even realise that they have OSA as some of the most typical symptoms to look out for is when they are in an unconscious state of sleeping, such as loud snoring. It is therefore advisable to ask your sleeping partner if they notice any symptoms including choking or gasping during your sleep, breathing cessations and loud chronic snoring. If your partner does notice any of these symptoms, it is extremely advisable that you get diagnosed for OSA.
I think I am at risk of sleep apnea. How can I confirm my diagnosis?
If you believe you or your partner at risk of sleep apnea, it is very important that you conduct a sleep study to confirm you suffer from OSA. You cannot receive CPAP treatment if you do not confirm your OSA condition, but do not worry, conducting a sleep study can provide you with a very fast turnaround, and can even be done in the comfort of your own home if desired.
For a fast turnaround, many people decide to go privately. Going privately of course does involve a fee, although it does provide you with a fast turnaround, normally within two weeks. Best of all, you can take the sleep study in the comfort of your own home, saving you from having to run to several appointments in order to confirm your condition.
The other popular option of course is going through the NHS to save costs. Normally this process involves a visit to your GP, who will then refer you to your local sleep clinic. Once you have discussed your concerns, you will stay overnight in the clinic while they conduct your sleep study. You will then be issued with CPAP equipment if suitable, although usually you will not have a choice in which machine or mask you choose.
Going through the NHS is a popular first port of call by many, as CPAP equipment can be fairly costly, although be aware that conducting a sleep study through the NHS can take several months, depending on your location. You might therefore be enticed into conducting a sleep study privately to avoid the long waiting times and to conduct the study in the comfort of your own home.
The quicker you confirm your diagnosis of OSA, the quicker you can receive CPAP treatment and improve yours and your partner’s overall quality of life.
I want to conduct a sleep study in the privacy of my own home and avoid waiting times. But which sleep study would suit me best?
- To conduct a Finger Pulse Oximetry sleep study, you will be asked to fill in a detailed medical questionnaire and perform an overnight study in the comfort of your own home. This sleep test monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. In many cases, this alone may be sufficient to identify obstructive sleep apnea. However, if you have a BMI under 25, or above 40, then a Multi-Channel Respiratory Study would be required instead.
- To conduct a Multi-Channel Respiratory sleep study, you will be asked to fill in a detailed medical questionnaire and perform an overnight study in the comfort of your own home. This sleep test works by also recording your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, but additionally monitors your respiratory flow, chest resistance, body position and other data channels to form a more in-depth picture of your sleep.
*If you conduct a sleep study privately, you will be given an overnight sleep test to do in the comfort of your own home. Your sleep study results are confidential, so whatever action you choose after receiving your results, is entirely up to you.
I think I’m at risk of sleep apnea, but I’m not sure whether or not I want to take a sleep study. Are there any further health complications if I do have sleep apnea and it goes undiagnosed?
Sleep apnea is very detrimental to your health if you leave your condition untreated. Having untreated OSA means that you never hit the full restorative stage of sleep, so you are constantly battling with tiredness. This can affect your relationships, work life and can even make you nine times more likely to be involved in a road accident!
Fortunately, studies also suggest that treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine can reduce road accidents by up to 70 percent! That is just another reason why if you are suffering from excessive daytime tiredness, you should always consider taking a sleep study, to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.
Not only does sleep apnea affect your driving abilities and work life, it also affects your overall health. You are more at risk of developing a serious health condition if you do not treat your sleep apnea effectively.
Untreated sleep apnea can become a very serious matter when it starts to play a role with obesity, linking to a higher blood pressure, an increased risk of heart disease, an irregular heartbeat or stroke.
Apart from your physical health, there are many consequences to your mental health and general well-being that you would want to avoid. Depression, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, cognitive impairment, decreased sex drive and a poor work performance. Sleeping disorders can easily begin to take over many aspects of your life from destroying your relationships to your work life. Not only does a sleep disorder affect the individual but most of the time your sleeping partner too.