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If You Have Sleep Apnea What Should You Do Next?

Aug 17, 2007
Upon suspecting that you might have sleep apnea it is advisable that you read through your insurance policy to see if you are in any way covered. Costs can reach anything up and beyond $1000 per person. Certain insurance policies only cover specific procedures/ consultations, some policies don't cover durable medical equipment (the most commonly used devices to treat sleep apnea).

Once having visited your local primary care physician you may be referred to a sleep specialist and also a sleep testing facility. In some cases the physician will order the sleep tests themselves, collecting the results. Testing areas can either be laboratory based, or in the comfort of your own home. Split-night studies do occur in sleep labs. This type of study involves testing for sleep apnea in the first half of the night. If you are found to have the sleeping condition then the second half of the night is spent using methods to treat it.

The range of doctors that can have the required knowledge in sleep science is wide. Suitable practitioners can have specialized in other areas e.g. neurologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, psychiatrists or primary health carers (e.g. family practitioners or interns).

Sleep knowledge could have come from studying sleep medicine via a residency program, training with other sleep specialists, continued medical education (CME) courses, or scientific meetings. Various individuals may have opted for further tests in sleep studies so that they became certified by a well known body, such as the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM). Sleep doctors may therefore hold a lot of degrees meeting the ABSM requirements, e.g. a DO, MD, MB, PhD or PsyD in a related health field. Dentists have even been known to practice sleep apnea research and treatment since they can be called on to fit oral sleep apnea preventing appliances.

When ever you meet with a sleep professional you should still make the effort to enquire about their past experience and qualifications. Ensure you are pleased with their answers to your questions and that you know exactly how they plan to diagnose and treat your potential ailment.

Complete lists of all competent sleep doctors and sleep facilities don't exist, the ABSM not endorsing any healthcare provider, product or company. A physician, sleep center and laboratory list does exist, produced by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), containing those companies and/ or people that pay their membership fees. You can see the up-to-date list on their website. Do remember that perfectly good practices may not be on the lists, for what ever reason e.g. they are still being approved, or have chosen not to be.

Sleep activity can be measured in tests using devices like electroencephalograms (EEG) which measure brain waves, and electroculograms (EOG) to evaluate eye and chin movements. These two devices monitor the various sleep stages that occur. Electrocardiograms take the heart rate of the patient, recording the rhythm, breathing movements are measured with chest bands. Other monitoring devices look at blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, and leg movements. No degree of pain is typically seen with the use of any of these practices, not single injection needle is used either!

A negative result after testing may simply mean you need further tests to elucidate whether you have sleep apnea or not, particularly if you still display the symptoms (e.g. falling to sleep a lot, even after good nights sleep). Further, more elaborate and sophisticated contraptions may be necessary which aren't often used in sleep tests.

For further information regarding sleep testing any treatment consult your local doctor or sleep expert.
About the Author
Sleep apnea sleeping disorders are common and if discovered should be appropriately treated immediately. For sleep apnea information go to http://www.sleepapneafacts.info/Sleep-Apnea-A-Sleeping-Disorder.php and surf its many dedicated and packed webpages.
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