It is a potentially serious condition that can cause several complications including heart diseases and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea may be of different types. A common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is usually seen in overweight or obese individuals. The affected person has repeated episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing) that lasts for a few seconds throughout the night. The estimated prevalence of OSA associated with daytime sleepiness is 4% in adult men and 2% in adult women. If you suffer from sleepiness, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, and snoring, you should get screened for OSA.
What are the dangers of prolonged sleep apnea?
In the individuals suffering from sleep apnea, due to fat deposition between the muscle fibers, the tongue and the throat muscles have poor tone. These muscles go flaccid as the person sleeps, causing the airways to collapse. Such a person has a period of no breathing for a short time that awakens him for a second and he drifts off to sleep again. The prolonged cycle of awakening and sleeping throughout the night limits the amount of time spent in deeper sleep stages. Untreated OSA is a risk factor for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, poor work performance, and accidents.
Hence, it is important to diagnose sleep apnea in time and treat it.
How can I monitor sleep apnea at home?
Sleep apnea can be monitored in sleep studies. These can be done in sleep laboratories under the supervision of a sleep specialist or using home sleep monitors (HSMs). HSMs need a prescription by your doctor. The home sleep monitors are easily accessible and cheaper compared to a study conducted at a sleep laboratory. These monitors have the following portals to monitor the body’s responses in sleep:
- Respiratory channels: There are nasal prongs and a sensor to provide nasal oxygen that measure the pressure changes during breathing in sleep.
- A pulse oximeter attached to your finger or earlobe measures your blood oxygen saturation.
- Single-lead electrocardiography or ECG is used for this measuring your pulse rate.
- The chest and abdominal belts are used to measure breathing effort and movement in your sleep.
- Snoring assessment is done using microphone placed on the neck.
The monitor uses the above tools to study your breathing efforts while you sleep. It will measure pauses in your breathing and whether your breathing is shallow. These devices then calculate your apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). AHI tells whether you have obstructive sleep apnea and, if so, how serious it is.
The American Association of Sleep Medicine advocates the following guidelines to diagnose OSA:
- Mild: AHI of 5-15 apnea events per hour
- Moderate: AHI of 15-30 apnea events per hour
- Severe: AHI of greater than 30 apnea events per hour
For most adults, an AHI of 5 or more is typically considered abnormal. Severe sleep apnea may often need radical lifestyle changes and surgical intervention.
What are the types of home sleep monitors available in the market?
The following types of home sleep monitors are available in the market:
- Type II monitors are the most elaborate home sleep monitors, and hence seldom used at home. They consist of seven channels that measure your brain activity (electroencephalogram or EEG channel), your eye movements (electrooculography or EOG channel), your muscle twitches (electromyogram), heart rate (ECG), respiratory effort using special channels, and oxygen saturation (pulse oximeter) in sleep.
- Type III monitors are limited channel devices. They have a minimum of four monitored channels, including airflow channels (respiratory movement or respiratory movement and airflow), ECG, and pulse oximetry channels.
- Type IV devices measure only one or two parameters (e.g., oxygen saturation or airflow). These are the most used home sleep monitors.
Depending on the type of home sleep monitor used, this procedure is around 86-100% sensitive and around 64-100% specific to diagnose sleep apnea.
A thorough study should be done at the sleep laboratory under the supervision of a sleep specialist to confirm the diagnosis of home sleep studies.
- New COVID Variant XBB Is Gaining Ground Among Americans
- Berry Good for You: Some Foods Can Strengthen Your Brain
- Allergies & Asthma: Keep Sneezes & Wheezes at Bay This Holiday Season
- COVID in Pregnancy Can Vary — Get Vaccinated to Stay Safe
- Caregiving Can Heighten Loneliness, or Ease It
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
John Hopkins Medicine. What to Know About an At-Home Sleep Test. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-to-know-about-an-at-home-sleep-test?
WebMD. Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea-ahi-numbers
Top How can I monitor sleep apnea at home? Related Articles
Can You Recover from Years of Sleep Deprivation?Learn what medical treatments can ease symptoms of sleep deprivation and help you recover from years of sleeping badly.
Edluar (zolpidem tartrate)Edluar is a prescription sleep medication used to treat insomnia (trouble falling asleep) in adults. Serious side effects of Edluar include getting out of bed while not being fully awake and doing an activity that you do not know you are doing, abnormal thoughts and behavior, memory loss, anxiety, and severe allergic reactions.
Hetlioz LQ (tasimelteon)Hetlioz LQ (tasimelteon) is a melatonin receptor agonist used for the treatment of Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24). Common side effects of Hetlioz include headache, elevated liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, or ALT) in the blood, nightmares or abnormal dreams, disturbed night’s sleep, drowsiness, upper respiratory tract infections, or urinary tract infections. Hetlioz can potentially impair the performance of activities requiring complete mental alertness.
How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart?Sleep is an important part of your body's functions. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a negative impact on your heart.
Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and MoreLearn about the different types of sleep/wake disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and treatments of sleep disorders.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can potentially lead to serious systemic health complications. It is a condition that causes a person to intermittently stop breathing during sleep. Warning signs of sleep apnea include snoring, nighttime gasping, intermittent pauses during sleep, and daytime sleepiness.
Which Way Should You Face Your Bed? Rules for a Better SleepThere is a lack of convincing scientific evidence to say that you should face your bed in a “particular” way or direction. However, as per the ancient Chinese practice, feng shui, you should face your headboard toward the south.