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Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Sleep Studies: What You Need to Know

by in Medical Care May 2, 2019

We all know someone who can saw logs with the best of them.  You may even be the “resident snorer” in your family (whether you believe them or not).

People snore for many reasons, some of which can be temporary and not too serious (such as nasal congestion or a bad sleep position).  However, snoring that occurs with other symptoms, such as pauses in breathing while asleep, issues with focus and concentration, headaches and other related issues can be an indications of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

What is OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea begins with the muscles in the back of your throat (including the soft palate and uvula).

If these muscles relax too much, your airway can become constricted or blocked, which lowers your blood oxygen level. As carbon dioxide levels build in your bloodstream, your brain rouses you just enough to get a couple deep breaths (often accompanied by choking or gasping) before settling back into normal breathing patterns.

If these episodes occur less than five times per hour, there is usually not a cause for concern.  Some people experience 10, 20, 30 or even more such episodes every hour for the entire time they are asleep, which can add up to several hundred episodes per night in severe cases.   

The first sign of such interrupted sleep and oxygen deprivation is daytime sleepiness. Left untreated, however, OSA can lead to a long list of maladies, including weight gain, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cognitive issues.

What Sleep Studies Can Show

At Apple Healthcare, we use the take-home sleep study from ResMed.  

Many people are familiar with inpatient sleep studies at a sleep center. These tests require spending the night sleeping in a lab, while hooked up to a wide variety of testing equipment. The cost generally ranges from $2000-$3000 or more.

Our take-home sleep study measures the most common variables that inpatient sleep studies do. AHI (apnea/hypopnea index) measures the number of “flow limitation events,” which is the primary indicator of OSA. Other data gathered includes oxygen saturation levels, pulse, breaths per minute, snoring events and the amount of time blood oxygen fell below certain benchmarks.

Testing Process

Our medical providers will show you how to use the ResMed ApneaLink equipment properly. There are several sensors to position which record five channels of information (respiratory effort, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring). After that, all you have to do is sleep normally in your own bed!

The unit will confirm that all sensors are working and has an indicator to show when the test is complete. After that, you return the unit to your provider and the test results can be downloaded very quickly.  Most patients have no trouble getting usable results on the first night, although if a sensor comes out of place, you might have to repeat the process to ensure the results are accurate.

Want to learn more about the ApneaLink test or schedule an appointment?

Give us a call at 865-524-1234!

May is “Sleep Month” at Apple Healthcare. All month long we’ll be helping you learn how to get great sleep to enjoy great health! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or subscribe to our Newsletter for more information.