What to Expect During Your Sleep Apnea Study

Sleep apnea is a common yet chronic disorder that affects your breathing at night. This can leave you feeling exhausted throughout the day. And every night, the cycle starts all over again. The good news is sleep apnea is fully treatable, and a sleep study can help you get the right treatment for your sleep apnea.

At Dental Care by Design, Dr. Larry R. Adams can help you get set up for an at-home sleep study that can determine if sleep apnea is the problem. After the sleep study results are in, he can help you determine what method of treatment is best for you.

What’s sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that significantly affects your ability to get an adequate amount of sleep at night. It's characterized by pauses in your breathing while you sleep. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere from several seconds to a few minutes.

After that long pause, your normal breathing resumes. You might start snoring or making a choking sound. This can be scary for you and your partner.

Sleep studies are the only way to accurately diagnose sleep apnea. If Dr. Adams suspects sleep apnea is the reason for your chronic tiredness, he can order an at-home sleep study for you.

What to expect during a sleep study?

There are two types of sleep studies: those that are done at home and those that are done in a sleep center. Dr. Adams can discuss the pros and cons of both to help you figure out which one is best for you.

The home study is a relatively easy process that you're able to do in the comfort of your own bed. It's a convenient way for you to get the data you need without having to sleep in a facility.

The study involves a machine with sensors that you take home with you; you put on or attach the sensors before you go to bed. Three sensors are usually involved: a pulse oximeter, a nasal cannula, and a chest strap.

The chest strap wraps around your chest or abdomen and helps measure your breathing effort throughout the night. The nasal cannula measures the airflow in and out of your nose during sleep. The pulse oximeter goes on your finger and measures your oxygen levels and pulse.

All three devices are imperative to getting accurate results during your sleep study. In most cases, you stay hooked up to the devices even if you need to get up in the middle of the night.

Treatment options after the sleep study

Once you've completed the sleep study, return the machine to our office and Dr. Adams downloads the data. The information gathered during the study is sent to a professional sleep clinic where it’s analyzed by professionals.

Analysis in hand, Dr. Adams discusses the findings with you and forms a treatment plan. Sleep apnea results typically are classified as severe or mild to moderate.

If you're diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, the best treatment option may be a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. With this treatment, you wear headgear at night attached to a machine that forces air into your mouth or nose to keep your airway open while you sleep.

For mild to moderate sleep apnea, you may just need a special dental appliance that you wear at night to help keep your airway open.

If you're dealing with frequent tiredness during the day, call our office at 360-207-4992 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online today.

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