If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you might be wondering how often you need to be tested. While most doctors will recommend that patients have the pressure settings of their CPAP machine adjusted annually, needing to schedule additional sleep apnea testing is dependent on the patient’s specific situation.
Sleep apnea isn’t something that typically needs testing on a regular schedule. However, retesting for sleep apnea might be recommended by your physician if they believe your treatment needs to be adjusted, you’re continuing to experience symptoms, or you’re a commercial truck driver. Here are a few reasons it might be time for you to schedule another sleep apnea test.
You’ve Lost or Gained Weight
Studies have shown that a person’s weight has a direct correlation to the severity of their sleep apnea — and is very common in patients who are overweight. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, if a patient suffers from sleep apnea and loses or gained 10% or more of their body weight, they should undergo another round of sleep apnea testing. Doing so will allow their doctor to make any necessary modifications to their CPAP therapy machine to ensure they’re receiving the proper treatment to alleviate their symptoms.
Your Symptoms Have Returned
Sleep apnea affects each patient differently — some will experience all of the symptoms, while other patients will only experience a select few. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will prescribe CPAP therapy to improve your sleep and minimize symptoms. However, if you’ve found that symptoms of sleep apnea have returned, you might need to be retested. Look out for loud snoring, waking up with a dry mouth or headache, having a difficult time falling asleep, feeling unrested throughout the day, and noticeable irritability. If your symptoms return or increase, a doctor can help you determine why this has happened and what can be done to help you get a sound night’s sleep.
Your Pressure Requirements Have Changed
CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, which provides a constant level of pressure continuously to the upper airway throughout the night while you sleep. If you’re using your breathing machine each night but still suffering from sleep apnea symptoms, there’s a chance you need to adjust the pressure levels. Scheduling a sleep apnea test with your physician will allow them to determine the new pressure for your CPAP machine.
You’re a Truck Driver
As a commercial truck driver, you know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all drivers to undergo a physical exam that proves you are able to operate a commercial vehicle effectively. DOT requires truck drivers to take this exam every two years to ensure all drivers operating commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lb are more than capable. While the physical exam doesn’t always include a sleep apnea test, if your doctor believes you might be suffering from a sleeping disorder they’ll require sleep apnea testing before you gain DOT approval. In this case, you can expect to take a sleep apnea test every two years when taking your DOT physical exam.