The Sleep Lab at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin has two suites dedicated to sleep apnea testing.
Each room is designed to look and feel like a real bedroom. The testing process, which begins at 8 p.m., includes monitoring of heart, lung and brain activity; breathing; arm and leg movements; and blood oxygen levels. The information gathered is used to help determine if a patient is getting a truly restful night's sleep. A patient who shows signs of obstructive sleep apnea is awakened during the night and fitted with the CPAP device. This mask, which fits over the nose, directs air to upper airway passages, keeping them open, and preventing apnea and snoring. After sleep testing, a patient sees his primary care physician to discuss test results and determine if the device would be beneficial.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:
Snoring, interrupted by pauses in breathing
Gasping or choking during sleep
Excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day
Poor concentration or judgment
Frequent urination at night
These factors make you more likely to experience sleep apnea:
Excess weight, especially around the neck
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
Age - most sleep apnea occurs in people between 40 and 70
Gender - men are more likely than women to experience sleep apnea
Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, which relax throat muscles
Possible benefits of treatment for sleep disorders include:
Feeling like you are awake and functional all the time
Health problems such as high blood pressure may be minimized
Testing for sleep disorders is covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. For information about sleep medicine contact your primary care provider.