Polysomnography | Diseases and conditions: Medical tests.

What is Polysomnography / sleep study

Polysomnography, also called 'sleep study', is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders. It was developed in the first half of the 20th century, thanks to the discoveries of Berger on the electric record of brain waves during sleep and wakefulness. Gradually identified normal patterns that exist in health conditions, and could thus be electrical alterations with diseases.
However, its main use today is the study of the syndrome of obstructive Apnea of the dream (OSA), in which decreases in the percentage of oxygen in blood again and again throughout the night by the airway obstruction occur.
During a sleep study, various types of sensors that record biological constants are used. The determinations that will capture most are:
Brain electrical waves.
Blood oxygen level.
Heart rate.
Respiratory rate.
Movements of the eyes.
Movements of the legs.
Body position.
Snoring and any other noise you make while you sleep.
With these elements the doctor will be able to identify the different parts of the dream and its two main components, REM sleep and non-REM sleep.
The sleep study or polysomnogram is a test expensive and difficult to interpret, so must be carried out by experts and only when you go to be useful to determine a diagnosis or adjust a treatment. It is usually done in specific units of the dream that exist in hospitals and clinics. These units resemble hotel rooms where the person who undergoes the test will happen overnight while sleeping that explores its activity during sleep.
Although a few years ago the sleep studies were not performed very often, today it is a test that gets underway routine in many hospitals, even in children. There is also a type of home-based polysomnography, which you can do at home, but it is less reliable.

When doing a sleep study

It is a test that is useful when the following diseases are suspected, polysomnography and sleep study therefore serves to confirm your diagnosis:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) syndrome: the most frequent symptom is falling asleep during the day. Snoring or feel poorly rested during the night are also symptoms to take into account.
Restless legs syndrome: Although much still does not apply this test for diagnosis, it begins to be useful to confirm this syndrome so difficult to control.
Narcolepsy: it is a disease in which people suffering from it come suddenly during REM sleep, even being awake during the day. The brain alterations that produce it can be studied during the dream with this test.
Sleepwalking: although it is commonplace among the population, in some cases can be a significant risk for the person and for your night's rest.
Disturbances of the heartbeat at night: there are arrhythmias that occur more frequently during the night and you can study if there is a relationship with the nocturnal oxygen levels in blood.

Preparation for polysomnography

If you are performing a polysomnography these are the issues that you must take into account:
Duration: polysomnography lasts all night. To be held during sleep it does not a waste of time very important to the person making it. The only extra time would be the preparation and collection after the test, which in any case would be less than an hour.
Income: polysomnography can be outpatients at home or in a hospital with a unit of the dream. The doctor will decide what make first.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: it is not necessary to be accompanied, just keep in mind that when it is done in the hospital you must spend the night there. The next day you can go back home or go to work directly. If the test is going to make any of your children, one parent must stay the night with him.
Drugs: don't need to take any prior medication. You should tell your doctor all the medicines taken regularly and will decide which suspend or maintain, especially if you take drugs for epilepsy, muscle relaxing, antiarrhythmic, or psychiatric diseases.
Food: it is not necessary to remain in fasting prior to testing or after. A light dinner is recommended to sleep at ease and avoid taking all day coffee, alcohol and other substances that is exciting.
Clothes: you can go to the quote from the test with the same clothes every day. You can take your pyjamas, although they sometimes prefer to use a hospital Pajamas to make it easier to put the sensors on the skin. Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes and toothbrush. It is normal to not let you take a shower in the Center where the test, so better go to she showered with clean hair (you take shellac, gel or other hair products). If you're a woman you're not made-up, and if you're male it is best you shaved the sensors stick well on the skin.
Documents: is essential to bring with you the steering wheel which shows the performance of this test. He is recommended to take the national document of identity and medical history on diseases to study, if you have them, although the doctor will already have it with him. Normally you will not you any document after the test because it takes time to analyze them.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: polysomnography is not contraindicated in pregnancy or lactation, although it is not a test that is performed much in these situations since the biological constants that are studied are altered for itself during these stages.
Contraindications: do not have any specific contraindication.

How polysomnography

First, the doctor will assess whether it may be useful to perform polysomnography, and will see if it is better to perform directly in the hospital or outpatients at your home. Ambulatory polysomnography is less reliable than the polysomnography of the hospital, because all the constants that we cannot be measured. However, it is very useful to rule out diseases and so only test the hospital people who already show alterations in the ambulatory sleep study.
One will quote you a night for the study of sleep and they explain the basic measures that you need to know to submit yourself to it. The day of the test must be a normal life, avoiding to take a NAP after lunch to get to sleep that night. Best thing is that you get to hospital an hour before the start of the test, to take time to familiarize yourself with the room where you will spend the night. Avoid do any stressful activity evening before you go to make the sleep study.
When you are comfortable and with the Pajamas they placed a series of sensors in the skin of the chest, arms, legs and head. Also a small clip on one of the fingers of the hand. Then you will see that all sensors work and properly capture measures to study.
Once all the sensors don't have to sleep immediately. They will tell you that you can be in the room reading or watching TV awhile until you feel sleep. Is normal for that night you are more nervous than usual, you sleep in a place you do not know, but the best thing is to relax and try to get to sleep.
Overnight you will not notice of absolutely nothing. You'll sleep like you any day. The next morning you will wake up at the agreed time and will help you to remove all sensors with acetone, diluting the glue. Then you can change your clothes and collect your stuff without having to wait for any results.

Complications of polysomnography

Polysomnography is a completely safe test, which does not represent any risk for people who perform it. The only complication that is known of her is that some of the sensors that are stuck to the skin can irritate it in especially sensitive people, something not very common.

Results of polysomnography

Throughout the night various sensors capture biological measurements stored in a register. At the same time performed polysomnography or sleep study, these measurements can be observed, but it is virtually impossible to analyze them because it takes time and dedication to study all the components at the same time.
Normally during the night, there is only a technician next to the room that is performed, which is sufficient for testing. The days after a doctor will examine the record and will see what changes there are, so will decide a diagnosis and propose solutions to the person who has been subjected to the test.
You can go and pick up the results of polysomnography medical specialist that you commissioned the test, is usually an pulmonologist or a neurologist. On that date it explain the alterations that have been throughout the sleep study. It can be observed that the main problem lies in breathing pattern and the amount of oxygen reaching the body, or that alterations are found in the nervous system affecting sleep directly. As a result of the results the doctor indicate possible solutions to your problem, if it exists.
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