Alaska Sleep Education Center

Kevin Phillips

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What is a Polysomnogram Test?

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 13, 2015 10:10:00 AM

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, and are looking to get it treated, chances are you'll have to have a polysomnogram (PSG) test performed to properly diagnose your disorder.

But what exactly is a polysomnogram test? How is it conducted? And what can it tell you about your sleep troubles?

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Topics: sleep study

CPAP Compliance: 3 Ways CPAP Patients Can Monitor Their Treatment

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jul 30, 2015 4:48:15 PM

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." – English proverb

The old adage above speaks volumes about patient compliance with CPAP therapy. All too often we hear about patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea go through the long, arduous process of investigating their sleep troubles by having a sleep study, getting a diagnosis, receiving a CPAP machine for therapy, selecting a mask, getting educated on how to use their equipment, only to quickly abandon therapy within a few short weeks.

Many of these patients are shown the path to quality sleep and given the tools to change their declining health, but, sadly, they can't be forced to comply with treatment.

The question facing many sleep professionals becomes, "If we can't make them drink, how can we entice them?"

The only real answer is to help patients want to get better. The best way to do that is to have them get proactive about sleeping healthier by using their CPAP equipment. And getting them proactive starts with showing them how to track their own therapy progress.

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Topics: CPAP compliance

The Challenges of Home Sleep Apnea Testing: Benefits and Drawbacks

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jul 24, 2015 3:22:00 PM

Patients suspected of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will have to have a sleep study performed to properly diagnose the disorder. There are two possible tests for determining a diagnosis: an attended polysomnogram (PSG) and an unattended home sleep test (HST).

Attended PSG tests are conducted in a sleep lab under the supervision of a registered polysomnographic sleep technologist (RPSGT). In addition to sleep apnea, PSGs can diagnose up to 80 sleep disorders by using a variety of equipment that monitors brain activity, eye movements, respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, body movements, and more.

HSTs on the other hand are used only in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and are performed by the patients themselves. Patients taking a HST will bring home their equipment to use overnight after being given a tutorial on how to use the equipment. HSTs are very simple and easy to use. HSTs are also limited in the data they capture to respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, and airflow. Some HSTs can also capture breathing movement and body positions.

HSTs are increasingly being used in the determination of obstructive sleep apnea. However, there are some important considerations to make when choosing between having an in-lab sleep study and an at home sleep test. Here we explain those considerations.

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Topics: home sleep test

What is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)? Symptoms & Treatments

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jul 15, 2015 4:20:42 PM

People do not wake up one morning suddenly afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea. Rather, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is believed to be a progressive disorder that lies on the extreme end of a spectrum of sleep disordered breathing.

At the other end of the spectrum is benign snoring–snoring that has no impact on sleep health other than possibly disrupting one's bed partner's sleep. When the causes of snoring begin to progress from relatively harmless noise-making to the harmful sleep disorder of sleep apnea, it often first develops into upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS).

But what exactly is UARS? How does it differ from OSA? And what treatments are available to keep it from developing into OSA? Here we hope to answer these questions and more.

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Topics: sleep disorders

Sleep Apnea and Weight: How Weight Impacts/Contributes to Sleep Apnea

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jun 26, 2015 2:51:05 PM

One of the questions we get asked the most here at Alaska Sleep Clinic is how weight contributes to sleep apnea.

Because weight is one of the biggest contributors to sleep apnea, and one of the most frequently cited risk factors for developing the condition, we decided to delve into the relationship between sleep apnea and weight, as well as whether weight gain can worsen the condition, and weight loss can reduce it.

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Topics: sleep apnea

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