Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder which happens when an individual’s breathing pattern is disrupted while sleeping. It has been observed that people, who continue to have untreated sleep apnea, stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. This as a result renders less oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body. Sleep apnea disrupts the quality of sleep, which makes an individual tired and lethargic during the day. Studies done on sleep apnea monitoring market suggests that this disorder is the leading cause of extreme daytime sleepiness. To diagnose sleep apnea or any other disorders related to sleep, doctors suggest patients to undergo sleep study (polysomnography). This procedure is done in a sleep lab, in which the patient has to spend the night in the lab where the polysomnography (PSG) equipment keeps a record of his or her physiological data. Nevertheless, presently with several technological enhancements, a sleep apnea monitoring instruments like polysomnograpy can be performed at the convenience of one’s home and this procedure is called home sleep study or home sleep testing (HST).
Sleep apnea equipments:
At the time of sleep study, surface electrodes are put on the scalp and face and will send recorded electrical signals to the equipment which will measure the readings. The muscle and brain activity generate certain signals which are recorded digitally by the machine. Around the abdomen and chest, the technician will place a belt in order to measure the breathing. Also, an oximeter which looks similar to a bandage will be put on the patient’s finger to determine the level of oxygen present in the blood.
A few other sleep apnea instruments and tests:
- Electromyogram (EMG) – to record muscle activity such as grinding of teeth, twitching in the face, leg movements and to ascertain the existence of REM stage sleep. Throughout REM sleep, extreme dreams often happen since the brain goes through heightened activity.
- Electro-oculogram (EOG) – keeps a tab on eye movements. All of these movements are vital in knowing various types of sleep stages, especially in REM stage sleep.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – heart and rhythm are recorded.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) – to determine and record the brain wave activity.
- Nasal airflow sensor to examine the airflow of the patient.
- To record snoring activity, a snore microphone is attached.