Sleep apnoea studies, more correctly referred to as polysomnograms or diagnostic sleep studies, are used to determine whether a patient is suffering from sleep apnoea.
There are two basic types of sleep apnoea. 'Central' sleep apnoea, which is comparatively rare, is as a result of a neurological condition which causes the sufferer to not experience the normal desire for breathing. The body simply stops attempting to breathe. Again, central sleep apnoea is a relatively rare condition and requires expert treatment by a sleep specialist.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) on the other hand is very common, with some studies finding densities of up to 50% of an adult population. (The population being studied was made up of obese and pregnant women, so it's hardly surprising there would be a higher incidence of the condition amongst these patients.) This form of sleep apnoea occurs when the soft tissue of the upper airway collapses and literally obstructs or blocks the airway. The sleeping patient is trying to breathe, but the blockage in their airway prevents them from doing so.
Apart from the numerous and negative consequences of sleep apnoea (such as hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, loss of libido and even cancer, all discussed in other articles on this blog) the biggest problem is most sleep apnoea patients are unaware of the fact they have the condition.
Repeated arousals during the night are a sign your body is waking you to get you breathing again. Even these awakenings might not be noticed because they are only brief enough to restart the body breathing. It is not uncommon to find severe sleep apnoea sufferers who wake literally hundreds of times per night, with consequent negative impacts on their physiology and sleep quality, who never realise they've woken through the night.
Sleep apnoea studies (i.e., polysomnogragms or diagnostic sleep studies) are used in cases like this. The patient wears the diagnostic equipment to bed and it records eye movement, heart activity, brain activity, blood oxygen levels, sleep positions and movements and much more. The recorded data gives sleep scientists and sleep physicians a clear picture of exactly what is happening while the patient sleeps. An appropriate form of treatment can then be prescribed.
The really good news is new diagnostic technology means the sleep apnoea study can be done in the comfort, privacy and convenience of your own home -- so there's no more inconvenient appointment times and uncomfortable beds!
If you suspect you might have sleep apnoea, arrange a sleep apnoea study or call 1300 246 637 for a free, no-obligation chat with a friendly sleep therapist. That's why we're here, so feel free to call. Alternatively, you can make an online enquiry by clicking on the button below.
Either way, do something. Sleep apnoea is a dangerous condition which typically worsens and does more damage over time. Get started on arranging your sleep apnoea study today.