Verifying a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) requires testing a patient while they sleep. Until recently, this meant visiting a lab and spending the night in a strange bed hooked up to machines while technicians watched you try to sleep. For some people, the experience is obviously uncomfortable and the results are affected by the unfamiliar environment.
With the development of home sleep testing, also called home polysomnography (H-PSG), sleep testing enters a new age. Six different studies examined by Sleep Medicine Reviews concluded that “H-PSG allows complete sleep evaluation. The quality of patients’ sleep tends to be better at home. H-PSG is accurate for OSA diagnosis and the failure rate is low despite the absence of supervision.”
The dentists and the sleep apnea specialist at the Sacramento Dentistry Group can provide you with the required home testing equipment to determine if you have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. A small device is worn while you sleep. You then return the device to our Sacramento dental office so the results can be downloaded and examined. Based on the home testing data, we can determine if you are suffering from mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.
Do not take any sleep medications before using the home sleep testing device. Also, do not drink alcohol or ingest any caffeine before the test. Otherwise, you should follow your usual sleep routine to ensure an accurate picture of your sleep patterns.
A sleep test for OSA measures how often you experience two different types of sleeping episodes:
This information is then compared to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (or AHI). Under the AHI, less than five of these episodes per hour is considered normal. When you reach five or more episodes, however, your condition is characterized as sleep apnea.
Sleep testing also measures your blood oxygen level to determine how your apnea and hypopnea episodes affect the amount of oxygen your body receives during sleep.
Using the AHI, your level of sleep apnea is rated as follows:
Your blood oxygen levels are also considered in diagnosing sleep apnea. A normal amount of oxygen saturation during sleep is considered to be above 96%. With sleep apnea, the level of blood oxygen desaturation increases as the airway is blocked. The following levels are usually matched with your sleep apnea diagnosis:
Oral appliances available from the Sacramento Dentistry Group can generally solve mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. For severe sleep apnea, an oral appliance will definitely improve your condition, but additional therapies may be necessary. Our sleep apnea specialist will help you understand your options and choices, based on your sleep testing results, an oral examination and a consultation regarding your sleep and lifestyle habits that may contribute to sleep apnea.