How to test for sleep apnea at home

SUGAR LAND, Texas – A lot of people who are not sleeping well are reluctant to see a specialist because they don't want to participate in a sleep study (the kind where a patient sleeps at a clinic), but a Sugar Land doctor said that's all a thing of the past.

Carlos Juarez never felt rested, and was struggling to function during the day, but he did not want to do a sleep study.

“I don't feel comfortable sleeping in other people's beds,” he said.

His wife and daughter noticed he would stop breathing at night, wake up gasping for air and had the cardinal sign of sleep apnea: He snored.

“They noticed that and they were scared for me,” Juarez said, “because when you're asleep you don't know that's going on.”

However, board certified sleep medicine expert, Dr. Mauricio Reinoso knows exactly what's going on and just how simple the solution can be.

“I can tell you 80, 90% of the patients this would be enough, that you don't necessarily need to go to a sleep laboratory to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea,” Reinoso said.

Reinoso sends patients home with a machine that can diagnose the majority of patients from home.

“With that, we can determine how many times you stop breathing, for how long, how low your oxygen goes, if you stop breathing because you've got obstruction intermittent in your throat, which is the most common form of sleep apnea or if you stop breathing because essentially your brain doesn't send the signal. You can tell this is obstructive sleep apnea, it will tell you how often you snore, it will give you an idea how bad you snore, and it will tell you essentially whatever we're interested,” Reinoso explained.

After diagnosis, a memory card inside the machines patients sleep with will help Reinoso monitor sleep patterns and even adjust the flow of oxygen from in his office, without seeing the patient.

Juarez has been using the machine for two years now. It's small, silent and there hasn't been one day that he regrets using it.

“I just feel better throughout the day. I mean, I remember how I was and how I am now. I notice it, it's great,” Juarez said.

Sleep apnea puts a strain on your heart. Patients are at risk for heart attacks, stroke, and sleep apnea can make it more difficult to control diabetes.