What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
What are the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
The signs and symptoms that are suggestive of OSA include obesity, loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, erectile dysfunction (impotence), morning headaches, personality changes (depression), high blood pressure and frequent nocturnal urination. A large neck girth in both males and females who snore is also a good predictor of OSA. In general, men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or greater and women with a neck circumference of 16 inches or greater are at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
What are some common signs of sleep apnea?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Decrease in attention, energy, memory and concentration
- Poor sleep at night
- Snoring, choking or gasping sounds at night
- Stopping breathing while asleep
- Waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat or headache
What are the associated health consequences?
Sleep apnea can have very detrimental health consequences when it goes untreated. It has been associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, sexual dysfunction and even increased risk of accidents.
What treatments are available for sleep apnea?
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea.
- PAP (positive airway pressure) treatment involves keeping the airway open with pressurized air. It is the most effective sleep apnea treatment, resulting in a virtually 100% success rate when used faithfully.
- Several types of surgery are available to expand the airway.
- Dental devices attempt to keep throat tissue from blocking the airway.
What is an in-center sleep test?
An in-center sleep test is the most detailed and thorough way to test for sleep disorders like sleep apnea. The patient sleeps in a private room at the sleep center while detailed sensors measure the patient's brainwaves, oxygen saturation, leg motion and other critical benchmarks. A technician oversees the patient throughout the night to ensure the most accurate results possible.
How do I schedule a sleep study?
After your doctor refers you for a sleep study, a patient care coordinator will contact you to schedule the test.
What should I bring with me?
- Pajamas (separate top and bottom)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Book/magazine (to help get you settled to fall asleep or if you have to wait for a few minutes during set-up)
- Snack/water bottle (if you need mid-night snacks or an early feeding, bring a snack bar or piece of fruit. There will be water on-site, but it's nice to have your own on-hand)
- Pre-study paperwork that was emailed or mailed to you after you scheduled your sleep study
Can my bed partner/caregiver spend the night too?
NO, only in special cases you can bring another person to the sleep center with you. Children and patients requiring an around-the-clock caregiver MUST have someone stay with them.
IMPORTANT: Discuss any special arrangements with the sleep center BEFORE arriving for your study.
When will I get my results?
You will receive your results within two weeks (10 business days). Each sleep study is scored by a technician and then reviewed by a sleep specialist. See our video for more information on what happens after your sleep study.
What is a home sleep test?
A home sleep test (HST) is a convenient, comfortable way to test for sleep disorders like sleep apnea. It takes place in the comfort and convenience of a patient's own home.
How do I schedule a home sleep test?
After your doctor refers you for an HST, a patient care coordinator will contact you to schedule your HST.
How will I receive the home sleep test device?
You will pick up the HST device on the day of your sleep study from a sleep technician who will show you how to use the device.
How will I know how to use the device?
The HST device is fairly simple to set up. When you pick up the device in person, you will have a live technician walk you through how to use the device and answer any questions you may have.
For how long will I have to use the PAP device?
The PAP machine is a therapeutic device that will assist you in getting a good night's sleep. You will most likely continue using the PAP device as long as your condition/diagnosis remains the same. Some patients find that they do not need to use their device or can reduce their pressure settings after significant weight loss. It is important to talk to your doctor before you stop therapy. You may benefit from a sleep study to determine a lower pressure or to evaluate the severity of your condition.
How do I clean my mask?
Daily: Wash the mask system with warm, soapy water. Use soaps without added scents, such as plain Ivory® liquid soap or baby shampoo. Rinse well and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight.
Weekly: Separate and hand-wash the mask components and headgear in warm, soapy water. Use soaps without added scents. Rinse the components well and allow them to air dry out of direct sunlight.
Caution: Do not use solutions containing vinegar, bleach, chlorine, alcohol, aromatics, moisturizers, antibacterial agents or scented oils, as they can damage your mask!
My mask leaks air and is uncomfortable; what should I do?
All masks are designed with exhalation ports, or small apertures where the pressurized air is released. If you notice air blowing out of these small ports, this is OK. However, it is important not to have air blowing around your face and into your eyes. Please contact us if you are experiencing excessive air leakage or discomfort with your mask.
How often should I replace and clean the filter?
If you are using a disposable filter (usually white-colored and thinner than a non-disposable filter) you should change it twice a month. However, keep in mind that you may need to swap out these filters more often depending on the quality of the air in your room.
Sometimes I sense some dryness in my nose, mouth or throat; what should I do?
A heated humidifier specifically designed for your PAP device may help reduce dryness. Please refer to the user manual for operation instructions. If you have not received a heated humidifier along with your PAP device or if you have questions about the operation of your heated humidifier, please contact us.
How much and what kind of water should I use with the heated humidifier?
Most humidifiers come with a water chamber that has a maximum water level mark on them. Do not pour water past this mark. The water used with the humidifier needs to be distilled water and must be changed daily. Please refer to your user manual for more information.
At times it feels like I'm getting too much or too little air; what should I do?
The air pressure on your device is normally based on the results of your sleep diagnostic test. At times, it will take up to eight weeks for you to fully adapt to this pressure However, if you feel like the pressure is causing you excessive difficulty, please contact us so that we can assist you.
How often should I replace my PAP equipment?
Certain supplies need be replaced anywhere from every two weeks to every six months. Many insurance plans follow these Medicare guidelines:
|Every Month:||Nasal Mask Cushion/ Pillows (twice per month)|
|Full Face Mask Cushion (once per month)|
|Device Filter (twice per month)|
|Every 3 Months:||Mask and headgear, tubing|
|Every 6 Months:||Chinstrap, humidifier, water chamber|
Your insurance may have a different allowance for replacement supplies.
Will my insurance cover my sleep study or PAP device?
Most insuranceplans (HMO, PPO and Medicare) cover sleep studies and PAP therapy for the treatment of sleep disorders. Plans may vary in their coverage. It is important to understand your benefits.
Most insurance compliance guidelines require that you show proof of using your device for a minimum of four hours per day at least 22 days out of a consecutive 30-day period within the preceding 90 days (in the past three months).
What insurance does Paloma Sleep Disorder Center accept?
We accept all PPOs, Medicare, Tricare/TriWest, major HMO plans and Workers' Compensation.
Do I need a physician's referral?
Yes, we require a physician's referral for all HMO plans. However, for Medicare and PPO plans, we have sleep specialists to see you in consultation and recommend any sleep studies that may be required.
What nights are you open?
We are open five nights a week, closed on Sundays and Wednesdays. We will ensure that you have your sleep study on the night most convenient for you.
Do you provide sleep medications at the sleep lab?
No. The sleep lab does not provide any medications. Please make sure you have discussed all of your medication needs with your physician prior to your sleep study.
Am I allowed to take my regularly prescribed medications?
You should take all of your usual medications on the day and night of your sleep study unless your physician has advised you otherwise.
What do I need to know before my sleep study?
It is recommended that the following instructions are followed:
- Avoid caffeinated beverages/foods eight to 12 hours prior to your study (e.g., coffee, tea, soda and chocolate)
- Avoid alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to testing
- Avoid body oils, gels and lotions
- Please eat a good meal prior to your arrival at the sleep lab
- Try not to nap the day of your study
What happens during my sleep study?
Upon arrival, a technician will lead you to your room. Surface electrodes will be applied painlessly to your scalp, chin, legs, chest and near your eyes with conductive paste. This will enable us to evaluate your stages of sleep and pertinent information regarding your sleep pattern and behavior. A sensor will be placed under your nose and belts will be placed around your chest to monitor your breathing. The setup process will take about 45 minutes. A technician will monitor your sleep from a room in close proximity to you where your sleep data is collected and stored on our sleep diagnostic computerized system. If apnea is detected, you will be contacted to be scheduled for a CPAP titration trial or the technician will initiate a CPAP trial only if ordered by your physician on the night of your study.