April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012
Sleep Apnea

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Living with HIV brings challenges and one of the challenges that I and others with HIV have are sleeping problems. For some it is insomnia caused by medications. For others, it can be sleep apnea. So what can you do if you have sleep apnea?

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may ask you to have a sleep apnea test in a sleep disorder center. This often includes a polysomnogram.

A polysomnogram -- or sleep study is a multiple component test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. The recordings are analyzed by a qualified sleep specialist to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder.

If sleep apnea is determined, you may be asked to return to the lab for further evaluation in order to determine the best treatment option.

Sleep Apnea and Other Causes of Fatigue

What to Expect During a Sleep Study

On the night of your sleep study, you will be assigned to a private bedroom in a sleep center or hospital. Near the bedroom will be a central monitoring area, where the technicians monitor sleeping patients.

You will be hooked up to equipment that may look uncomfortable. However, most people fall asleep with little difficulty.

Equipment Used for a Sleep Study

During a sleep study, surface electrodes will be put on your face and scalp and will send recorded electrical signals to the measuring equipment. These signals, which are generated by your brain and muscle activity, are then recorded digitally. Belts will be placed around your chest and abdomen to measure your breathing. A bandage like oximeter probe will be put on your finger to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Other Tests and Equipment Used for Sleep Apnea

EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure and record brain wave activity.

EMG (electromyogram) to record muscle activity such as face twitches, teeth grinding, and leg movements, and to determine the presence of REM stage sleep. During REM sleep, intense dreams often occur as the brain undergoes heightened activity.

EOG (electro-oculogram) to record eye movements. These movements are important in determining the different sleep stages, particularly REM stage sleep.

ECG (electrocardiogram) to record heart rate and rhythm.

Nasal airflow sensor to record airflow.

Snore microphone to record snoring activity.

For more information, please contact your health care provider.

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab