Sleep apnea is a complex disease, but the treatment of it is relatively straightforward. Most cases are the instructive type, and some are the central type. Sleep apnea testing can be done at home, and there are even easier methods of diagnosing this condition.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
It’s always best to see a Sleep Physician when figuring out what type of sleep apnea a patient has (central versus obstructive.)
Insomnia, fatigue, restless leg symptoms, and heavy snoring are signs and symptoms that might indicate potential sleep apnea.
If nothing else, the STOP-BANG questionnaire is quite useful in determining if someone needs any sleep apnea intervention.
Whenever possible, we try to lower the barriers in healthcare for our patients at Digital Nomad Health.
We work with empower sleep to streamline the process. From sleep apnea testing to treatment to cost discussion to follow-up.
They will have patients do 7-10 nights of testing to determine the need for interventions. Empower Sleep will maintain all communication and schedule any necessary further testing.
Alternative Home Diagnostic Options
This compact device is accurate enough to diagnose not only OSA but also CSA (central sleep apnea).
We only recommend that our patients not rely on a single night test for accurate diagnosis. We take our patients through the proper protocol to ensure the test is accurate.
Treatment Options for OSA
1. PAP Devices
A positive airway pressure device (PAP) will ensure that the airway get adequate air preventing it from collapsing during inhalation or exhalation.
2. Mandibular Devices
Dental devices push the lower jaw forward and allow more airflow.
Physicians use iNAP to move the position of the tongue in the mouth. This can work incredibly well for some, while others find it ineffective.
3. Implantable Devices
Inspire is an implantable device – similar to a pacemaker for the tongue and relays information based on the movement of the chest wall.
When in Doubt
In our practice, we had an unfortunate case of a patient who had undiagnosed sleep apnea, which caused severe high blood pressure, leading to a major vascular event.
Testing is always the best option, but when you can’t test, start with the questionnaire above or perform a simple home test with consumer-grade devices.
The cost of such devices may be prohibitive, but financing is often available, and the alternative to living with undiagnosed sleep apnea is quite concerning.