First things first before taking a sleep apnea test - check with your health insurance. Ask if they cover medical expenses and clinical diagnosis for sleep apnea. Some health insurance has specific requirements or only covers some stages of diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is not a one-step procedure. You may need to go through multiple procedures or refer to several doctors depending on your condition.
Everything begins at home - Performing a simple sleep apnea test can begin with yourself. You can search for online tests. It contains sets of questions you can answer to first check if you have the permission. A major symptom of this sleep disorder is high snoring with breathing breathing while you sleep. If you experience this, it is time to see your doctor.
Consult your doctor - Usually a sleep apnea test will begin with your primary doctor. Initial diagnosis will be based on personal and family history of sleep apnea. Ask your parents or close relatives if they know someone in your family who has it. Sleep apnea is a condition that usually happens in the family. The doctor will usually ask about your usual sleep time, sleep habits and how to do you during the day. It would help keep a record of your sleep habits before visiting your doctor. During this time you try to know how high and often you snore. Most sufferers are not aware that they are snoring and have breathing breaks. It would help ask a family member or bed partner. Some people even videotape themselves during sleep to witness the snoring's first hand.
After receiving your medical history, your doctor needs a physical examination. Your throat will be checked if you have enlarged tonsils and adenoids. You will also be checked for large tissues that can block your airways. Others have small jaws or have an obstruction in the nasal passage. For children, a family medical history and a physical examination may be sufficient to confirm sleep disturbance. For adults, the symptoms may be more complicated. Most are referred to a sleep clinic for a more comprehensive sleep apnea test.
Treat to a sleep specialist - Your primary doctor will be the one who decides if you need to be referred to a specialist. These specialists would include a pulmonologist, a lung expert, to investigate your breathing. A neurologist specializing in the human brain can help in the treatment of central sleep apnea. It is caused by a failure in the brain to connect to breathing coils. Otolaryngologists can help if your illness is caused by an obstruction in the airway. For a more comprehensive testing and confirmation of your condition, please refer to a sleep clinic.
Inside a sleep clinic - A sleep clinic is where a sleep apnea test is performed and symptoms can be diagnosed. It provides a thorough test for sleep apnea. A sleep study is usually done overnight with a test called polysomnogram. Before going to bed, sensors will be attached to the scalp, chest, face, limbs and fingers. These sensors detect brain activity, muscle activity, eye movement and respiratory rate. It will also measure the blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in the blood. All of these will be done while you sleep, so the diagnosis is basically painless. Sleep clinics can deliver accurate results so your sleep doctor can recommend the most effective treatment. The only problem with the sleep clinic is the cost of diagnosis. The cost can reach thousands of dollars. However, this sleep test can be covered by health insurance.
Home sleep tests - Not all sleep apnea tests are so costly. An alternative is a home-run sample that costs relatively less. It usually has a portable display that records the same information in a polysomnogram. It can be delivered to your home and it comes with instructions. Most prefer a home base sleep apnea test because they can sleep in the comfort of their own bed.