Should I take a Sleep Test?
If you or your partner have recognised that you have a sleep problem; this could be snoring, waking up choking or gasping, or even waking up in the morning still feeling tired, then these are some of the alert signals that could suggest you might have sleep apnea.
The first step you should take is to talk through your sleeping pattern with your partner or if alone, to record your sleep on your mobile or tablet devices so you can analyse your symptoms. Your sleep partner may notice that in addition to your snoring, there are periods of apnea events which means that you have a period of obstructed breathing. This can be a cause of great concern for your sleep partner who may be fearful that your breathing might not start again.
From this discussion, you may decide that you would like to visit your GP to discuss your symptoms. Unfortunately, going through the NHS means that you have to visit your GP, then get referred to a Sleep Specialist who will then put you on a waiting list for your sleep study. Of course this is an option you might like to consider as it’s free, but when suffering moderate to severe symptoms of sleep apnea, this can be very frustrating as with an insufficient amount of sleep or disturbed sleep, it can begin to have a major impact on your everyday quality of life. However, if you want a quick diagnosis and to be sure that you are given fast results, you can order a private at home study and receive the results normally in about 10-14 days.
Where can I get a Sleep Test from?
Sleep Studies can be performed by the NHS in a sleep laboratory/ward which requires you to stay overnight at hospital with sensors hooked up to various parts of your body. They will then be able to inform you of your diagnosis. However, if you would prefer to take a test in the comfort of your home as you feel this might represent your true sleeping pattern, you are able to purchase a confidential home sleep study test using simple non-invasive equipment which will give you results within less than 2 weeks. The Sleep Study at home tests by Intus Healthcare work by monitoring your heart rate and blood oxygen levels during sleep. For a more detailed analysis, you may want to take a Multi-Channel Respiratory Sleep Study that not only records your heart rate and blood oxygen levels during the night, but also your body position, chest resistance, respiratory flow and other data channels to form a more in-depth image of your sleep behaviour. For the at home tests, there is no need for a referral. You can choose a time that is convenient to you, and in the comfort of your own home. Once you return your sleep study, a written report will be generated by a Sleep Study Specialist and the results will be returned to you normally within 7-14 days.
Two kinds of at home sleep tests
You may or may not already be aware that we offer two types of at home sleep tests. We offer the Finger Pulse Oximetry Sleep Study and the Multi-Channel Respiratory Sleep Study.
So what does a Finger Pulse Oximetry Sleep Study involve?
The Finger Pulse Oximetry sleep study works by monitoring your heart rate and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. You will also need to fill in a detailed medical questionnaire. In many cases, the Finger Pulse Oximetry sleep study will be enough to identify Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
So then when is a Multi-Channel Respiratory Study required?
A Multi-Channel Respiratory sleep study is required if you would like a detailed analysis of your sleeping behaviour or if you have a BMI under 25, or above 40. The Multi-Channel Respiratory sleep study works by recording your heart rate, blood oxygen levels similarly to the Finger Pulse Study, however, it additionally monitors your chest resistance, respiratory flow, body position and other data channels which provides a more in-depth picture of your sleep. You must also fill in a medical questionnaire.
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