The Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea has been proven to contribute to the severity of many undesirable conditions. The mechanisim for this correlation is complex and varied, but essentially each time we stop breathing or suffocate in the night, the body is triggered into the fight or flight response which releases a deluge of hormones and chemical messangers which cause free radical formation and negative down stream effects. Sleep apnea is defined as having at least 5 incidents of this suffocation per hour but can occur as many as one hundred times per hour. It is also important to note that oxygen saturation levels will drop during sleep apnea which has been associated with cancer.
The Importance of a Diagnosis:
Sleep apnea presents a multitude of outward signs and symptoms, but the only way to know for sure is to obtain a diagnosis based on the results of a sleep study read and interpreted by a board certified sleep physician. The diagnosis will determine the type of care that will be required to solve your unique condition.
How We Determine if you have Sleep Apnea
For adults, we have two options. The gold standard is an in-lab sleep study, called polysomnography or PSG. This is done in a facility away from your home where a technician will oversee everything from attaching the monitors to observing your sleep. In-lab sleep studies allow the technician to monitor a wider variety of conditions and to make changes while you are asleep to see how they will affect your sleep. The biggest downside to a PSG is the expense. Generally, they range from $2500-$5000 per night based on your insurance. A much more affordable option is the home sleep study. We use the Medibyte, by Braebon, which allows you to sleep in your own bed and is also read and interpreted by a board certified sleep physician. Home sleep studies do not over diagnose but they can miss or under report sleep apnea. Generally, an HST is enough information to determine if you have sleep apnea and to monitor the effectiveness of your therapy. Unfortunately, in children, only in-lab sleep studies are approved to obtain a diagnosis. HST can be used as a screening tool to determine if you need an in-lab sleep test. Home sleep studies are much more affordable ranging from $250-$500 based on your insurance.