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Are At-Home Sleep Tests a Waste of Time?


Are At-Home Sleep Tests a Waste of Time?

Why bother with at-home sleep tests? Are they not simply delaying a sound night of rest? Why can’t I just buy the CPAP therapy equipment outright?

This type of mentality is more common than you may think and such beliefs need to be corrected. Let us take a look at why at-home sleep tests are a critical part of the diagnostic process as well as your options for combating sleep apnoea.

The Importance of Proper Clinical Management

We first need to look at a concept known as clinical management. Without delving into overly scientific terminology, clinical management is simply how a doctor chooses to address a patient based upon an examination.

All trained medical practitioners will ask themselves an important question before prescribing any type of remedy:

“Will the results associated with an examination modify the ways in which I choose to treat a patient?”

There are undoubtedly some situations where the answer is clearly no (such as being diagnosed with an everyday cold or transient insomnia; nature simply needs to take its course). However, this tends to represent the exception more than the rule. It is actually quite common for the results of a thorough examination to impact treatment options.

In regards to sleep apnoea, at-home tests will be able to discover the answers to three critical questions:

  • Is sleep apnoea present or does the individual suffer from another condition?
  • What type of sleep apnoea does the patient have?
  • How severe is the sleep apnoea and how does it impact the lifestyle of the patient?

The first question is arguably the most obvious. While you might have performed a great deal of online research before coming to the conclusion that you have OSA, it is impossible to know with complete certainty.

Not only can this type of self-diagnosis cause an incorrect conclusion to be drawn, but you might be treating the wrong problem. As opposed to relying upon intuition and online information portals alone, at-home sleep tests are designed to provide a doctor with the clinical certainty required in order to make the correct decision.

Types of Sleep Apnoea

One of the lesser-known facts of this condition is that there are a number of medical variations which must be accounted for (these are referred to as “phenotypes” in the medical community). There is no doubt that obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common. However, a related disorder known as central sleep apnoea (CSA) could be present.

As the two conditions present themselves in a similar manner, self-diagnoses will be of little use. Let’s also not fail to mention that the management of CSA in relation to OSA is different. In other words, you will need the right tools for the right job if you hope to enjoy rest and relaxation.

Simply purchasing a CPAP will not provide you with the necessary level of certainty.

Finally, there are different degrees of sleep anpoea. Some individuals may barely notice a difference in their resting patterns while others might not have been able to obtain a sound night of sleep for years. This all depends upon how much and how frequently the airways close.

This is also the reason why purchasing a CPAP without any type of prior consultation can present an issue.

Those who are professionally diagnosed with a severe form of sleep apnoea will require a CPAP that provides more pressure so that the airways will remain open. This type of unit is sometimes referred to as a BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure). Not only might you make the wrong choice, but utilising the incorrect appliance to address sleep apnoea can actually make it more difficult for you to remain asleep.

Avoiding the Wrong Conclusion

We have just taken a look at some of the clinical reasons why at-home sleep tests are the first and most crucial portion of an accurate diagnosis. It should nonetheless be highlighted that there are other conditions which are similar to sleep apnoea (and that will require entirely different remedies).

Some examples include a deviated septum which can cause breathing problems, sinusitis and simple snoring. In other words, you would never want to purchase a CPAP if it would prove to be of no use whatsoever. This is once again why at-home sleep tests should never be overlooked.

What Does CPAP Treatment Involve?

Now that we have examined the main reasons why obtaining an at-home sleep test is important in regards to the attaining proper diagnosis, it is a good idea to take a look at what you can expect if your doctor prescribes a CPAP to alleviate sleep apnoea.

The machine itself is quite small and lightweight, so storage and transportation will not present any problems. It utilises a hose that sends pressurised air into a cup that fits snugly over your nose and mouth.

The theory is simple: higher air pressure will prevent your airways from narrowing or closing when you are asleep. Your body will therefore be able to receive an ample supply of oxygen and (thankfully), you can obtain the sleep that you so desperately require.

However, one of the main concerns which many individuals highlight is the fear that they will not be capable of adjusting to the presence of the CPAP while resting. In truth, you might find that it takes a bit of time for your body to acclimate to the feel of the mask.

This is why it is wise to use the unit during the day in the beginning when sitting or resting. Much like any other habit, you will need to become accustomed to this routine. It will not be long before activating the CPAP is simply another step when preparing for bed.

Why Not Use the Tools at Your Disposal?

Sleep apnoea is a chronic disorder that will not vanish from one day to the next. While a CPAP will provide you with amazing results, this condition still needs to be proactively managed by a doctor in order to determine if any changes or modifications are warranted.

This is why it makes a great deal of sense to obtain a sleep test so that the process can begin without any hindrances or incorrect conclusions. A CPAP can also represent a significant financial investment if purchased without a prescription, so it is only logical to obtain qualified answers sooner as opposed to later.

Obstructive sleep apnoea can be effectively managed if approached in the right manner. The term “cutting corners” is not relevant in these modern times and your first step should always involve procuring an at-home sleep test.

The associated results can then be passed on to a doctor or a sleep specialist so that the appropriate method of treatment is made available. Why take chances with your comfort and health? Be sure to order your at-home sleep test so that sleep apnoea can become a thing of the past.

To order the Intus At-Home Sleep Test: https://www.sleeptest.co.uk/product/in-home-sleep-test/

To shop for the highest-quality selection of CPAP devices: https://www.cpap.co.uk/shop.html


About author: Helen Clarkson is a Sleep Specialist at Baywater Healthcare. Ms. Clarkson has worked with Baywater since 2008, working closely with patients in delivering sleep/bi-level services including sleep and respiratory, both in the home and clinic setting. This includes therapy initiation and troubleshooting support. Ms. Clarkson is responsible for delivering the Baywater Healthcare patient adherence management programme to ensure continuing patient therapy compliance. works in conjunction with NHS clinicians and procurement to deliver excellence in home and clinic-based services. She provides training on all aspects of sleep including devices and interfaces. Previously, Ms. Clarkson served as Respiratory Physiologist at Pontefract General Infirmary. Her position was Senior MTO for lung function/sleep department, and she was responsible for performing simple and complex sleep studies, sleep study analysis, CPAP initiation, therapy adherence and troubleshooting/service clinics, spirometry, lung volumes and transfer factor, reversibility, CPET, hyperventilation testing, EIA testing, skin prick testing, 6 min walk tests. She has also held roles as Respiratory Physiologist and Respiratory Technician, working closely with patients with respiratory disorders -- including ex-miners. Ms. Clarkson has a BSc (Honors) in Applied biology from University of Staffordshire. She also studied Developments in Sleep Medicine (advanced course) at St. Thomas’ Hospital, and took the Edinburgh Sleep Medicine course. She completed the BSS: Advanced sleep course and the ARTP NIV Course.

In-Home Sleep Test

In-home Sleep Test provides a quick, convenient and affordable way to have Sleep Apnoea confirmed. All studies are independently analysed by experienced NHS-qualified sleep professionals, and use the WatchPAT recording device for unrivalled accuracy.
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