Visit to sleep clinic - how does this work
September 4, 2017 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I am going to a sleep clinic for an initial out-patient visit and this has to work. How do I get the most out of it? (details below the fold)

After YEARS of testing and talking to doctors etc. it seems the medics I deal with are finally accepting that maybe yes, I have a sleep disorder. It doesn't help that the people responsible for deciding who and what I get to see medically wise are in one country and I live in another, and a lot of this is doctors trying to diagnose what is going on over email (no really) and second-guessing doctors where I am living, who are perfectly fine, thanks very much.
Anyway - I have agreement to go to a sleep clinic for an initial in-patient visit. I have previously had panels of blood tests, repeatedly, which don't show anything and the clinic will have access to this. I have an excel spreadsheet of my sleep pattern for the last six weeks. I have spent years of trying good sleep hygiene etc. to no avail so want to skip the 'make sure your room is quiet and dark and don't look at the computer for a few hours before you go to bed' script. What else can you suggest I bring up in this initial interview to make the most of it? I don't want to bias things, but I do want to make sure that if I need sleep studies etc. we have a good case made in this first interview.
posted by Megami to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Things people would want to know include your general physical and mental health history, weight, medication list and any recent changes to your medication, medications or other treatments you have tried for your sleep, and more details about your symptoms. For example, are you unable to fall asleep? Are you waking up in the middle to pee? Are you waking up earlier than desired and then unable to fall asleep again? Have you ever fallen asleep behind the wheel or during work? Are you sleepwalking? Do you have restless legs? Do you snore? -- and so on. The specifics depend on what type of sleep disorder they are suspecting. That said, I imagine if they're already assessing you inpatient, that means sleep studies are in order.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 3:25 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Before they would send me for a sleep study (doctors seem to hate sending patients for sleep studies) they sent me to an ENT to check for a deviated septum.

Do you have night sweats? That's a symptom.
posted by H21 at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2017

When I had my sleep study done, I did not see a doctor that night. I only saw technicians, and I don't recall them being interested at all in my history, and only in my needs for that night - I.E. what time I was planning to go to sleep (there was a ~2 hour suggested window), what positions I thought I was likely to, and any medications, OTC or prescription that I would be taking and/or might be taking and making sure I know the routine to get assistance from them during the night if needed (i.e. to get disconnected to go to the bathroom, or assistance with new meds/cpap adjustment).

About a month after the sleep study I had the appointment with the doctor who had reviewed the data/video from the study - however, at that point based upon the referral / history there was already the diagnosis, so it was just to discuss.

If you want to actually get any history/etc info to the doctor, it might be worth attempting to contact during normal business hours, rather than bringing anything on the night of the study. The night of the study was heavily routined - First get people mostly wired up, and then encourage them to attempt their pre-sleep routines. Then people are saying they're ready to sleep and they have to get everything connected and tested etc. I don't imagine the techs would be happy to get a folder of papers from you that they're supposed to track.
posted by nobeagle at 7:12 AM on September 5, 2017

My sleep study for apnea was an "at home" one, not in a lab, and I also only saw technicians (to explain the gear).

That clinic sent my results to a sleep specialist in their system, but I also saw my own GP to discuss the results. The specialist told me a lot more about the results than my GP did, but the GP had signed the form so I went through the steps with him again anyway. :7)

Now I have a CPAP machine, and my only relationship seems to be with the company who wants to sell me masks & hoses & filters every damn month. My doctor will probably ask about my progress during my annual physical next month, just as he did at a quick checkup after 90 days of CPAP.

Explaining that you have good seep hygiene is helpful. Another factor is that if you are in bed enough hours each night, but are still tired, then your sleep is b0rked. (I simply don't spend enough time in bed: the CPAP machine has made my six hours better sleep, though still insufficient.)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:06 AM on September 5, 2017

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