What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea refers to repeated disruptions to your breathing as you sleep. When a person has sleep apnea, their breathing continuously stops and restarts as they sleep.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder that prevents you from reaching deep, restful sleep. The symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Gasping during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Daytime fatigue
- Morning dry mouth
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the muscles in your throat relax, allowing your airways to narrow as you sleep. OSA adds stress to your cardiovascular system and puts you at an increased risk for issues like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea occurs when the signals between your brain and breathing muscles fail as you sleep. People with central sleep apnea experience similar symptoms to OSA.
When a patient experiences both central and obstructive sleep apnea, it’s referred to as complex sleep apnea.
If you experience sleep apnea symptoms, ECCA offers both polysomnography and home sleep tests to accurately diagnose your condition.
What is polysomnography?
Polysomnography is an in-office sleep test that diagnoses sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Polysomnography is a comprehensive evaluation that monitors your brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, and eye and leg movements. ECCA provides in-office sleep studies at its sleep lab in Manchester.
When you arrive at the sleep lab, your provider places sensors on your scalp, temples, chest, and legs. Sleep studies take place in a comfortable, private sleeping space.
Once you fall asleep, you’re monitored throughout the night. The wires from the sensors are long enough to allow you to sleep comfortably. ECCA team members are there if you require assistance or need to get out of bed.
In some cases, your doctor may have you wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. CPAP is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that keeps your airways open with a continuous stream of air.
Although you will stay overnight, a successful sleep study does not require a full night’s sleep. After the polysomnography, you schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results and treatment options.
What is a home sleep test?
A home test is a simplified sleep study that monitors your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort.
A home sleep test allows you to provide your doctor with the details of your sleep health from the comfort of your bed. Although not as comprehensive, home sleep tests are a convenient alternative to polysomnography.
If you suffer from symptoms of sleep apnea, call ECCA, or book an appointment online.