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Sleep Apnea is an increasingly prevalent disease affecting tens of millions of Americans. In addition to being far more common than most people realize, sleep apnea has many long-term health effects. Sleep Apnea increases the risk of:
Sleep Apnea also increases risk of any conditions associated with inadequate sleep, such as car accidents. As society is getting older and more obese, both of which contribute to sleep apnea, the prevalence of sleep apnea continues to increase. Because sleep apnea is becoming increasingly common, many feel they have sleep apnea just because they snore or wake up fatigued. Confirming sleep apnea requires actual testing by a specialist.
While there are several products that claim to diagnose sleep apnea, none are officially recommended as they have not been as well researched as studies performed by a true sleep specialist. In actuality, there are multiple types of sleep apnea that benefit from different treatments. A sleep specialist can diagnose the type of sleep apnea and start the appropriate treatment to correct the cause by performing a “sleep study” in a sleep lab where you are monitored throughout your sleep.
Because of the monitoring involved, sleep studies are generally not performed in the home. Rarely, a physician might order a partial sleep study at home to monitor certain specific parameters of sleep.
So while many symptoms, such as snoring or irregular breathing, may increase suspicion of sleep apnea, there is no commonly accepted home test. Fortunately, many of the risks of sleep apnea can be monitored with basic blood tests, such as a lipid panel, which tracks cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c, which monitors average blood sugar over the previous few months. Everly’s Cardiovascular panel includes a lipid panel, hemoglobin A1c, and hs-crp, a measure of inflammation. These tests can demonstrate improvements in your health by properly managing your sleep apnea.A test that monitors stress and sleep hormones may also help individuals to understand their sleep patterns and work on ways to improve sleep. If you’re feeling regularly restless or that your stress levels are high, EverlyWell’s Sleep and Stress panel can be used to check stress hormone and melatonin levels to understand how those hormones may be influencing your symptoms.