Up until a few years ago, there was not much public attention paid to sleep apnea. Thankfully, there are now ongoing efforts to raise awareness about this condition that over time, can lead to serious health consequences. Even today, sleep apnea remains underdiagnosed…
To help us learn more about the Clinique GOTM in-home approach to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, we met with Priscilla Moyal, a sleep apnea technician who is part of a team that collaborates with Clinique GOTM.
First, how would you describe sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea syndrome is a relaxation of the throat and neck muscles that leads to breathing pauses, resulting in lower blood oxygen levels. These breathing pauses send a signal to the brain to wake up, which can occur several times per hour or dozens of times every night.
You can learn more about the symptoms and risk factors associated with sleep apnea here.
Why is it important to diagnose sleep apnea?
It is estimated that up to 25% of men and 10% of women in Canada suffer from sleep apnea. However, most of them remain unaware they have this condition… And if they do not receive the proper treatments, they could increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and their risk of being in an accident caused by a lack of sleep.
The right treatment will usually significantly reduce the health consequences associated with sleep apnea and increase an individual’s quality of sleep.
Who should get tested ?
According to Ms. Moyal, individuals who are concerned about their health should get tested, especially if they have a condition that increases their risk of developing sleep apnea such as obesity, diabetes, a thick neck, hypertension…
It’s also important to monitor the symptoms associated with sleep apnea and if you are worried, you should consult a physician to find out if you should get tested. If you experience frequent and loud snoring, poor quality of sleep, headaches when you wake up, irritability and fatigue during the day, or loss of libido, you should definitely think about getting tested for sleep apnea!
How do you get tested ?
A sleep apnea test is called an ambulatory polysomnography and is carried out by a respiratory therapist who comes to your home. The first thing to do if you suspect you might have sleep apnea is to consult your physician. They’ll be able to give you the prescription necessary to get this test. Clinique GOTM has a physician on staff who can make a house call to provide you with the necessary prescription.
Here’s how a polysomnography works:
- Make an appointment with a respiratory therapist: they will come to your home to explain how the device works.
- The test is performed at home: the device records the patient’s breathing rate and heart rate overnight. The test must last at least 5 hours.
- The test is analyzed: a specialized respiratory therapist will analyze the data and send the results to a pneumologist.
- Appointment with the pneumologist: if the test is positive, the person will meet with the pneumologist who will prescribe the appropriate treatment. Most of the time, this will include a CPAP machine (the appointment with the pneumologist is covered by the RAMQ).
- Treatment and follow-ups: the respiratory therapist will set up the CPAP machine in line with the pneumologist’s instructions. They will regularly follow up with the person to make sure they are receiving an appropriate treatment.
Do you think you suffer from sleep apnea? Do you want to get a prescription or book an appointment for a sleep apnea test? Contact the Clinique GOTM team now and we can help you get the treatment you need!