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TEXARKANA — CHRISTUS St. Michael Sleep Disorders Center is now offering at-home testing for sleep apnea.

"Sleep is a very important part of your life and can either enhance or adversely affect your health and well-being," said Kelly Johnson, registered respiratory therapist at the Sleep Disorders Center. "We work with adults and children with many types of symptoms related to sleeping disorders, such as poor sleep habits, insomnia or sleep apnea."

Sleep conditions such as sleep apnea, can cause patients to lose valuable sleep at night. A lack of sleep can, in turn, have a negative impact on a person's health. The sleep specialists at St. Michael recognize the need for early diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related illness.

"But it can be difficult especially for parents or those patients with unusual work schedules to complete a sleep study in our lab," said Johnson. "So, we have developed this program to make it more convenient to assess our patients and their ability to undergo these life-changing treatments."

Home sleep apnea testing is available to qualifying patients 18-years or older. The testing involves a very simplified breathing monitor that tracks breathing, oxygen levels and breathing effort during sleep.

"Without the full staff and equipment of a sleep lab, an at-home sleep apnea study cannot fully capture what is monitored with an overnight sleep study," said Chuck Fricks, clinical coordinator for the Sleep Disorders Center. "However, there are some serious advantages with an at-home test. Most at-home sleep apnea tests are used just for one night. It is also often less expensive than undergoing a full sleep study in a clinic. With an at-home study, you'll be in the comfort of your own surroundings."

For individuals with certain heart, breathing or neuromuscular problems an overnight sleep study at a sleep center may be the better option because it can give a more thorough assessment of sleep issues.

"If you are being told that you snore, snort and gasp, if you have disrupted sleep or are sleepy during the day, and you are overweight or obese, an at-home sleep apnea test may be very appropriate," Fricks said. "Talk with your clinical provider about your options, and we can help you find a solution that works with your life and gets you the treatment you need."

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