Have you ever been nudged by your bed partner because you had pauses in breathing? Ever been kicked to the couch because of your loud snoring? Or awoke feeling tired? You could be one of the millions of Canadians who are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (“OSA”).
OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and is characterized by repeated episodes of complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway during sleep. This condition is linked to an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.
The good news is that you can easily be tested for this in the comfort of your own home. A Home Sleep Apnea Test, also known as a Level-3 HSAT, is an easy way to determine if you are having trouble sleeping. A Home Sleep Apnea Test tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort when worn.
Here are the facts that you need to know:
1. It’s convenient.
This test is done in the comfort of your own home and is simple to use. To view our instructional video to see what is required of a Level 3 Home Sleep Apnea Test, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iet92nkII68.
2. It’s a small commitment.
The Home Sleep Apnea Test is typically used for one night, In rare cases you may need to repeat the test if there is not enough data recorded.
3. It uses sensors to detect your breathing, heart rate, and oxygenation.
The Home Sleep Apnea Test uses sensors that attach to your body. These sensors include a small finger probe that is used to measure oxygen levels. A nasal cannula that will be inserted into your nostrils and secured around your ears to determine the flow of your breathing and identify pauses in airflow. An effort belt is worn around your chest to measure the rise and fall as you breathe. Depending on the type of sleep recorder, you may also have a sensor that is placed on your throat to pick up snoring frequencies, to help determine the level of obstruction.
4. It does not monitor your quality of sleep, only your breathing parameters.
A Level 3 – Home Sleep Apnea Test can not analyze how long you are in light or deep sleep. The test only monitors your breathing parameters like pauses in breathing, or how much effort it takes to breathe while you sleep.
5. Your doctor must prescribe it.
Your primary care physician must order a Home Sleep Apnea Test by sending a referral to a CPSA accredited sleep medicine diagnostics provider like Aveiro Sleep and Sleep Medix.
You can print off and bring in the referral form, or send a copy of our referral form to your primary care physician.
6. You might have other sleep issues.
After the Home Sleep Apnea Test is done your results will be reviewed by a CPSA approved interpreting physician, and we will send the results to your referring primary care physician.
The Level 3 – Home Sleep Apnea Test is effective for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea only. It is not appropriate for the diagnosis of other sleep disorders. If you are still having persistent sleep issues, your doctor may recommend further testing. Individuals with certain heart, breathing, or neuromuscular problems may not be candidates for a Home Sleep Apnea Test.
If your sleep apnea test results are negative and you do not require CPAP therapy, Aveiro Sleep / Sleep Medix wants to help you continue your sleep health journey. Our multidisciplinary approach includes partnerships with sleep specialists, board-certified sleep dentists and support services.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
It may be appropriate for you to complete a Home Sleep Apnea Test if you have been told you snore, and/or have pauses in breathing, you are sleepy during the day, and/or overweight or obese. Make sure you tell your primary care physician that you want to be sleep tested.
It is important to talk with your primary care physician about your regular medication as they may make recommendations about how you use your medications leading up to and during the Home Sleep Apnea Test.
Safety Measures during COVID-19
Through Aveiro Sleep and Sleep Medix, the Home Sleep Apnea Test is available to patients with no physical interaction. Instructions are provided by our Registered Respiratory Therapists and Certified Sleep Technologists through virtual care, phone, and email appointments. Home Sleep Apnea Test instructional videos are also available.
Tips for a Successful Test
It is important on the day of your Home Sleep Apnea test to try and follow your regular routine as much as possible. Avoid napping during the day and eliminate use of caffeine after lunch.
You can go to sleep at your regular bedtime. When you are ready to sleep, that is when you will attach the sensors as instructed by your Registered Respiratory Therapist, or Certified Sleep Technologist. You will be asked to record the time you start the test, and when you wake up. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove all the sensors, but be sure to throw away the nasal cannula that was provided to reduce the risk of spreading germs. The test is now completed and can be dropped back off to our location or mailed back with the return slip that was sent with the test.
Results and Next Steps
Our CPSA approved physicians will score and interpret the information collected from the Home Sleep Apnea Test. A member of our sleep team will contact you to discuss the results, and a copy will be sent to your referring physician. If the results are unclear, you may have to repeat the test. The most common cause of this is because the test did not record enough data for the physician to make a proper diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your results will describe your severity as mild, moderate, or sever. Your physician will then discuss treatment options. The most recognized and effective treatment for OSA is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. CPAP devices provide a non-invasive and non-surgical approach to OSA therapy. Aveiro Sleep / Sleep Medix will remain active in your continued treatment and provide education about lifestyle and sleeping habit changes that assist you to succeed with your OSA therapy.
Aveiro Sleep provides Home Sleep Apnea Testing, CPAP therapy and support services catered to obstructive sleep apnea. Our local clinics allow us to test, treat, and support thousands of Albertans close to their homes.