I get frequent phone calls like one I received recently from a potential patient. He didn’t have a sleep test and his first question was:
Do I really have to get a sleep test?
He explained that he knew that he had sleep apnea because he estimated that he was at least 100 pounds overweight. He also had a bed partner that once told him that he stopped breathing, and also snored so loudly that he could be heard down the hall of his apartment building.
He never felt like he had a good night’s sleep, lacked energy during the day, and was prone to taking naps at his desk in the afternoon. So why wasn’t this enough information? Why did he still have to have a sleep test?
Symptoms vs. Diagnosis
What he described to me were his symptoms. In medical terms, this was part of his chief complaint and medical history. A quick Internet search of sleep apnea symptoms might convince anyone that they had sleep apnea. I agreed with him that he probably did have sleep apnea and should be tested for it.
Symptoms are not a diagnosis. A sleep study is a necessary part of determining a diagnosis. It’s like getting a blood test for suspected high cholesterol. Without a sleep study to confirm the symptoms, I would not know if a sleep appliance would work for you.
In addition, without a sleep study and a medical diagnosis, medical insurance companies will not pay for treatment. They need to know that you have a medical condition bad enough that it warrants treatment. Without a study, there is no proof of a “medical necessity” and therefore no insurance benefits.
Luckily, there have been many advances in sleep testing and you can now perform a sleep test in the comfort of your own home. And, we can provide you with one. We have partnered with the company that makes Watch Pat One. It is a safe, no infection risk, accurate and disposable home sleep test.
If you want to learn more about home sleep testing, please fill out your contact information on our website home page. We will send you what you need to do to take this one small step which will lead you to a healthier and happier life.
Thank you and staff well,