Sleep Apnea is diagnosed after a test of a patient's sleep patterns is performed. This test, a polysomnogram, is typically performed at a hospital or in some type of inpatient setting. However, a newer option has emerged for pre-polysomnogram testing: The at-home Sleep Apnea screening. The at-home screening process allows the patient to stay in their own home, and it is also considerably less expensive than a testing session in the hospital. By having an at-home analysis, the patient can learn whether a sleep apnea diagnosis will be likely if a polysomnogram is done in the future.
Sleep apnea screening at home can be done using a device called R U Sleeping. This device, which is manufactured by Respironics, features a nasal cannula that is inserted into the nose. The cannula is attached to a small beeper-like box. When breathing stops for more than 10 seconds, the device registers and records that an apneic event happened. The number of apneic events per hour is very useful information that can determine whether or not a more in-depth polysomnogram is required.
There are a variety of treatments for Sleep Apnea, and a solution should be customized according to the patient. CPAP machines are perhaps the most traditional solution, but many patients end up using them only sporadically. Surgery is an option, but only in the most extreme cases. Oral Appliance Therapy can be an excellent solution for many sleep apnea patients today. These medically approved devices work by forcing the jaw to move forward, which in turn allows for better upper airway capacity. Ultimately, this reduces or even halts the air resistance that causes sleep apnea. Dr. Shantzer is an expert in sleep apnea technology and can help patients choose the best treatment for their specific needs.
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