While we all know the value of a good night’s sleep, not everyone can count on waking well-rested.
Some ease into slumber by counting sheep, meditating or avoiding devices before bedtime; for others, however, the solutions don’t come as easily.
If you find you’re snoring more than usual, are waking up with headaches, and feeling tired throughout the day, it could be a signal that something more is happening, and testing for sleep apnea may be warranted.
Ensuring the testing is undertaken by a qualified, certified professional is critical, notes Dr. Avinder Minhas of Surrey Sleep Clinic, which is fully accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. As regulations are changing, it’s especially important to know how to choose an accredited provider.
Understanding sleep apnea:
Apnea is a pause in breathing, with significant cases lasting for more than 10 seconds at a time and occurring more than five times an hour.
With two different kinds of apnea – obstructive and central – it’s crucial you receive the right diagnosis and treatment.
“If you suffer from obstructive apnea, a CPAP machine might be beneficial for you, however if you’re suffering from central apnea, a CPAP machine could actually worsen your condition,” Dr. Minhas explains.
Without correct diagnosis and treatment, a patient’s condition could worsen or leave them at risk for more serious side effects, including reduced productivity, risks to their own safety and the safety of those around them – by falling asleep while operating a vehicle for example.
Testing qualifications for effective care:
While multiple unaccredited facilities provide home-based, overnight sleep apnea testing, until recently there’s been a lack of rules to regulate them.
In January 2021, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia’s Diagnostic Accreditation Program (DAP) approved accreditation standards for home sleep apnea testing. The Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT) is like any other medical test and it must be performed by an accredited facility, making it crucial to ask if the facility is accredited. To become accredited for Home Sleep Apnea Test, each facility location must be registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
The test must be done only on referral by a physician using a standard referral form, which will be circulating in coming weeks. Requirements include the facility assuring patient safety and confidentiality, hiring a qualified medical director and using qualified technologists to analyze the test data. The test data must be interpreted by a specialist accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. Additionally, it’s important to note the facilities medical directors are not automatically qualified to interpret the data.
If you’re having a sleep apnea test performed anytime soon, it’s crucial you use an accredited testing provider. If testing was done previously, and the condition hasn’t improved, you may want to revisit the diagnosis with an accredited professional.
After all, with a proper diagnosis, and proper treatment, you’ll be that much closer to a good night’s sleep.
To learn more, visit the Surrey Sleep Clinic online!