It wasn't long ago that if you wanted to be tested for sleep apnea, your doctor referred you to a local hospital for a night of testing. Hooked up to a variety of wires and monitors, you would attempt to sleep while equipment monitored your oxygen levels, breathing, and pulse.
Assuming, of course, that you had the patience to endure a year-long wait list.
Fortunately, sleep clinics such as Coastal Sleep are now able to offer an in-home test without the wait time of the past—and using minimally invasive testing.
"A small nasal device measures your airflow while a band on your chest keeps track of the movements," says Paul Sweeney, President of Coastal Sleep. "A pulse oximeter measures the heart rate and oxygen level, while a small monitor gathers the data from the devices and gives us the information we need to help our respirologists make a diagnosis."
If there's an obstruction in the airway, the monitor will sense that there's been an interruption in the breathing pattern, even though the chest may still be moving, says Paul.
"We can analyze the data from the monitor and discover how many sleep apnea events are happening per hour,” he adds. “Comparing the number of apnea events to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) allows us to determine if you have sleep apnea, and if so, whether it's mild, moderate, or severe."
If the results of the sleep test are inconclusive, Coastal Sleep refers the patient to a sleep therapist for more tests.
"Approximately 75 percent of those with sleep apnea aren't even aware that they suffer from it, "Paul says. "for example, People with diabetes or heart issues have up to 50 percent chance of suffering from sleep apnea. And if you have drug-resistant hypertension – a condition where no matter how many medications your physician prescribes, the hypertension persists - there's an 83 percent of having sleep apnea."
Coastal Sleep has been selected as a preferred vendor by both the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Fraser Valley Health.
"They felt that we represented the best in service and support for patients," Paul says. "We've hired a lot of excellent therapists, and all of us take a lot of satisfaction from seeing our patients' lives improve through the treatment of sleep apnea."
For more information about sleep apnea testing and diagnosis call Coastal Sleep at 1.877.241.9066, visit their website or send them an email. There is a Coastal Sleep facility located at 602-13737 96th Avenue, Surrey. Coastal Sleep can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.