So you have finally decided that you should have a sleep evaluation.
Perhaps you have read about the great football player Reggie White, who tragically died from heart failure believed to be caused as a result of his obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Maybe you are just tired and sleepy all the time, and have difficulty in concentrating.
Maybe you had a close call of falling asleep while driving.
Perhaps your sleep mate has moved out of the bedroom because of your window-rattling snoring, or perhaps, even worse, they are afraid to move out for fear you will stop snoring and they won’t be there to prod you awake so you won’t die.
Perhaps your physician is having difficulty controlling your blood pressure, or has expressed concern about your heart or your potential to suffer a stroke. Maybe your doctor believes you look and sound like someone who has sleep apnea.
A lot of people (including doctors) do not know about sleep medicine because it is a fairly new and rapidly growing medical specialty. There are 89 sleep disorders that are dealt with within sleep medicine. Sleep breathing disorders is the largest group of sleep related problems that require a sleep study for proper diagnosis and treatment.
After a thorough assessment by a Board Certified sleep specialist, you may meet the criteria to have a home sleep study. Three main components of sleep evaluation are:
- History and physical
- Study administered and properly interpreted
- Appropriate follow-up with physician
Home Sleep Study
In recent years, equipment has been designed that will monitor and provide a report for you in an overnight home sleep study. A home sleep study allows your evaluation to be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home. In some rare cases, testing at an accredited hospital lab may be required to rule out inaccurate information. All sleep studies must be interpreted by a Board Certified sleep doctor.
Insurance companies love the home sleep studies, because they are far less expensive, and provide accurate results to determine if a patient needs any type of mechanical breathing assistance during sleep to maintain oxygen levels in the brain, which helps us function better in life.
The third part of an accredited sleep study is appropriate follow up with the Board Certified sleep doctor, to ensure that the treatment is adequate to meet the individual’s specific needs. Research has shown that follow up within one week and then again within 90 days, leads to a 90% success rate in using the machine with good results.
Your sleep physician and his staff will assist you in choosing a durable medical equipment (DME) company that has proven it is able to evaluate your machine/mask needs and provide you with consistent service as well as supplies. Your DME company will also assist you with any machine issues or adjustments you might need for successful treatment of your sleep disorder.
John Hey, M.D.
Board Certified Sleep Specialist