Approximately 24 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but do not know it. The negative effects of this sleep condition can have far-reaching consequences, so getting treatment as soon as possible is crucial if you recognize the symptoms.
It can be tempting to attempt self-diagnosis in this era of internet symptom detectors and seemingly unlimited quantities of free online information. It’s quicker and more convenient than a trip to the doctor’s office and a lot less expensive.
You may wonder if you can self-diagnose a sleep disorder like sleep apnea if you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. However, the bigger issue is whether or not self-diagnosing sleep apnea is safe.
Traditionally, a sleep study (also known as a polysomnogram) was the only method for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Until now, that’s the most exhaustive evaluation available. Unfortunately, it also necessitates an overnight stay in a hospital or clinic, where you’ll be wired to various monitors and machines. However, many individuals now have access to a more flexible and pleasant method of diagnosis thanks to home sleep apnea testing.
After discussing your condition with your doctor, they may suggest conducting a sleep apnea test at home.
Below, we discuss different ways to test yourself for sleep apnea and how much each will cost.
Types of Sleep Apnea Tests
Getting a proper diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible is essential if you think you may have sleep apnea. You can learn more about the nature of your sleep apnea and select an appropriate course of therapy by taking one of the many available tests.
Various sleep diagnostic tools, such as polysomnograms, CPAP titration studies, and home sleep diagnostics, are available. Here, we break down the six most common tests for sleep apnea, how much they typically cost, and what conditions they may diagnose and treat.
A polysomnogram (PSG) is among the gold standard examinations for diagnosing sleep apnea. A PSG records and monitors several parameters through sensors attached or fastened to your body.
The Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) is one of the primary measurements on a PSG since it indicates how often breathing is wholly stopped or severely reduced in an hour.
Extended diagnostic procedures like this are typically carried out in sleep laboratories. Your progress will be tracked by a technician in the next room across.
The cost of a polysomnogram can range from $600 to $5,000 each night and even higher in certain cases. Normally, you may expect to pay around $1,500 each night.
The cost of an in-lab or clinical sleep test might vary depending on a variety of criteria. These include the facility’s location, the firm that runs it, the hospital or organization that funds it, and your health insurance provider.
2. CPAP Titration Study
Patients undergoing CPAP therapy maintain their airways and are protected from apnea episodes by using a mask and a constant flow of pressurized air.
Individuals have varying pressure needs in order to achieve optimum sleep and comfort. A CPAP titration research focuses on just these factors.
Sensors attached to your body will record your brainwaves, heart rate, respiration, oxygen levels, and leg and arm movements as you sleep in the lab, much like a polysomnogram (PSG).
A CPAP mask will be customized for your face, and the air pressure it delivers will be increased at certain intervals during the night by a trained technician. Based on those findings, we’ll advise you on the best air pressure setting.
The price of your CPAP titration study will be determined by a number of factors, including the specifics of your sleep study, your insurance coverage, and whether or not the sleep lab you choose is in-network.
An average out-of-pocket cost for a split-night study, in which both the sleep study and the CPAP titration take place on the same night, is between $2,500 and $6,000. Similarly to PSG, its price will depend on a wide range of factors.
3. Split-Night Study
Both the PSG and the titration studies are conducted on one single night. Therefore, if you have sleep problems, a doctor who specializes in treating them should be able to tell you if you qualify for this kind of research.
If you want an accurate result from your sleep study, you’ll need to meet a few conditions. You’ll have to return to the Sleep Lab if you don’t meet all the study requirements on the first visit.
Costs for polysomnography (PSG) and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) have been reported to range between $1,500 and $3,000, respectively, at various sleep clinics around the country. So, the combined cost comes to $4,400. Split-night studies are typically more costly than PSG.
4. Multiple Sleep Latency Test
Sensors on your body can be used in a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) to see how soon you nod off. This test is essential if your doctor suspects a disease like narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia. It is done after a PSG.
The MSLT is a daytime sleep test administered in a dark, calm room to determine how soon an individual may fall asleep. You will be given 15 minutes to nap, after which you will be woken up, and the exam will be given to you again.
The cost of a sleep study in a hospital is often more than that of a similar study at a private sleep facility. Costs for MSLT might range from one sleep clinic to the next. An MSLT might cost anything from $600 to $2200.
5. Maintenance of Wakefulness Test
The MWT is designed to measure how well a person can keep themselves awake and focused for a predetermined amount of time during the day. In addition, it can be helpful as a follow-up to therapy for a sleep disturbance.
Suffering from a sleep condition can severely hinder your capacity to think critically and complete difficult activities. Especially if your profession involves dealing with the public or other safety aspects, you must know how well you can stay awake and complete duties.
An MWT might cost anything around $800 in a sleep laboratory.
6. At-Home Sleep Apnea Test
An at-home sleep apnea test can be used to detect OSA. As the name indicates, one may take a sleep apnea test without leaving the convenience of their home.
This type of sleep study can also be referred to as an “unattended sleep study” because you are responsible for conducting the test without the help of a sleep technician.
Most sleep diagnostic tools for the home are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, like a standard telephone. Therefore, your usage of many instruments is essential to your success in the exam.
A sleep doctor, primary care doctor, or private, a for-profit enterprise can give access to the necessary equipment.
At-home sleep apnea testing and the usage of sleep equipment might range in price. In most cases, you may expect to pay between $150 and $500. The majority of insurance companies will cover the whole bill.
However, an at-home sleep apnea test requires the patient to exhibit the symptoms and demonstrate “medical need.”
So, here are the six different sleep apnea tests that can help you test for the condition. And, as you can see, at-home testing is the cheapest method. For this reason, we’ll discuss this topic further below.
What Can You Expect From An at-Home Sleep Apnea Test?
Several biological factors can shed light on whether or not you have obstructive sleep apnea that can be assessed during a home sleep test. Listed below are the tracked variables and the instruments used to measure them.
Through the night, your nasal and oral airflow are tracked by taping a tiny wire to your nose and mouth. Some sensors resemble intravenous oxygen tubing.
The effort you put into breathing is measured by securing an elastic belt around your chest and belly.
While you sleep, your blood oxygen levels can be monitored with a small clip-like device known as an “oximeter finger probe,” which attaches to your fingertip and generates a red light.
Can I Take a Sleep Apnea Test at Home?
Once you know what to expect and how the at-home sleep apnea test operates, completing it is a breeze. Each company that offers home sleep tests has its own set of guidelines and instructions, but there is a standard procedure you should follow.
We’ve simplified the procedure by dividing it into smaller steps.
First, discuss the possibility of a home sleep test with your physician. If so, your physician will have you do a sleep apnea test in the comfort of your own home. In addition, the testing kit may be available as an OTC product on certain websites.
However, prior medical consultation is recommended. This is especially important to remember if you are dealing with many health issues or taking multiple medications.
Next, you’ll either have the equipment shipped directly to your home or be instructed to pick it up at your doctor’s office. Finally, the night before you want to do your home sleep test, you should attach the devices to your body so that they may collect data while you sleep.
A belt, a tiny nasal cannula, and a finger clip are all part of the equipment above.
Third, collect enough data using the home sleep test equipment for anywhere from one to three nights so that your sleep technician and a doctor can analyze it.
Four, send your sleep apnea testing equipment back to the clinic that provided the diagnosis.
Finally, a sleep technician will get your data, analyze it, and compile a report based on their findings. Then, in the next appointment, your doctor will review the findings and the report with you.
Can I Test Myself?
Your sleep apnea test is easy to set up and utilize. However, assistance is available to ensure everything is set up properly, however, assistance is available. If you stumble upon any issues while following the instructions, you may use the included phone number for assistance.
Advice For Getting Ready For a Sleep Apnea Test at Home
Planning and sticking to a healthy routine before giving yourself a home sleep test will provide the most reliable results and the least amount of hassle. By incorporating these practices into your home sleep apnea test into your daily life, prepare for your home sleep apnea test.
1. Do Not Take a Nap
Taking a nap in the middle of the day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, might have a negative impact on how well you sleep at night. So to ensure you’re tired and ready for bed when the time comes for your home sleep test, it’s best to avoid naps.
2. No Caffeine After Lunch
Caffeine will make you restless and interrupt your sleep at night, so if you can help it, forgo the soda or coffee in the afternoon. On the other hand, go ahead and treat yourself if you need a boost in the morning.
3. Sleep on Your Sides And Back
How you sleep throughout the night depends in large part on the posture in which you sleep. For example, if you suffer from sleep apnea, lying on your back is likely to exacerbate the condition, whereas sleeping on your side might bring on the condition.
It may seem counterproductive, but the home sleep test determines whether or not you have sleep apnea and to what extent. In addition, your doctor will have more data to work with if you sleep on your back and sides to see if sleep apnea is a problem for you.
Doctors often send otherwise healthy individuals on at-home sleep apnea testing to rule out other sleep disorders if they exhibit moderate to severe OSA symptoms.
An at-home sleep apnea test might be the best option if you fit this description and would not go to a sleep center to get tested.
However, an overnight sleep study may provide more accurate and thorough results if you have a sleep issue or other underlying medical condition.
Consult your physician before making any decisions. The information about your symptoms and health can help you make the best choice in the above six ways.