It is important to diagnose your sleep apnea early in order to prevent complications. Depending on your province, your doctor may request that you complete a sleep test in a sleep clinic or at home.
If you think you may have sleep apnea you have several options:
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Performing your sleep apnea test at an overnight sleep clinic is extensive and may be recommended by your doctor if your symptoms are uncertain, if you have associated chronic conditions, or if you live in certain regions.
The sleep clinic test is supervised by a qualified sleep technician who takes notes and prepares a comprehensive report of all the tested parameters at the end of the test.
An independent sleep physician will then review your results, provide a sleep apnea diagnosis, and recommend the next steps for your treatment, when necessary.
In Ontario and Manitoba all sleep apnea tests are done at an overnight sleep clinic. Such tests are also available in the rest of the country as needed.
If your symptoms clearly point to sleep apnea, your doctor may request a home sleep apnea test.
You will meet with a qualified healthcare professional who will take your relevant medical history and explain to you what sleep apnea is. You will be given a sleep apnea home test kit and shown how to use it, so you can wear it at home while you sleep.
Your sleep apnea test results will be stored on a memory card in your machine. When you return the machine the data will be downloaded - to be scored and interpreted, normally by an independent sleep physician. The physician or your primary care practitioner will usually also provide treatment recommendations for you.
The benefits of a home sleep test are that you don't have to wait long for lab space availability and that you are more comfortable sleeping in your own home. With home testing, you will still typically be diagnosed by a sleep specialist.
While at first it may seem that wearing the diagnostic equipment to bed is strange, most people find that the simple monitoring device is comfortable and they fall asleep normally.