From the Washington Post to the Saratogian News, consumer press outlets are continuing a push to boost awareness of sleep disorders. In a summary of the latest articles, several sleep situations are outlined with home sleep testing proposed as the most convenient diagnostic solution.
The first anecdote documents a chronic snorer, pointing out that snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a disorder that raises the “risk of heart disease and diabetes.” In years past, diagnosing the problem meant spending the night at a sleep lab hooked up to monitors. Home testing, is “a simpler, cheaper and more convenient route…that works as well for many patients as the varieties used in sleep labs.”
“The driver for all of this is cost and convenience. Lab tests are labor-intensive and costly,” said Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in the article. “Insurance companies sometimes insist on home studies first. But patients would be much better off if insurers would allow doctors to use their best judgment.”
The report calls home testing part of a trend toward do-it-yourself exams that include a growing array of tests for genetics, fertility, blood cholesterol levels, thyroid stimulating hormone, urinary tract infections and more.
“Sleep specialists say they expect more people to opt for home tests as insurers continue seeking to cut costs. Home sleep tests cost up to $300 or more, while hospital-based lab tests can reach $1,500 or more,” writes Ungar. “Some doctors, though, suggest that while home tests have a place, particularly among relatively health patients with strongly suspected sleep apnea, they are not as thorough as lab tests, don’t provide as much data, sometimes miss less clear cases of apnea and can’t detect other problems such as narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome.”
Source: Washington Post