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Should You Try A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis App?

Dr Martin Abelar - June 3, 2022 - 0 comments

There’s no denying that apps on our smart devices have made our lives a great deal easier. From dog boarding to GPS, if there’s a need for it, there’s generally an app for it. But some apps are more useful than others. One new type of app we’ve been hearing a lot about these days is a sleep apnea diagnosis app.  There are actually several sleep apnea diagnosis apps available, but all claim to accurately detect sleep apnea. But do they? Just how accurate can they be?

A new study by Baptista and Colleagues looked at several popular sleep apnea apps available for download onto smart devices and found that in comparison to actual in-home and clinical sleep trials, these apps had an 88.3% sensitivity and an 80% specificity. This means that they’re accurate to a degree, but not enough to actually diagnose sleep apnea.

But that doesn’t mean they’re bad, either. In fact, these apps can be very helpful if you suspect you could have sleep apnea and either have no sleep partner or you simply want to be more sure before contacting your doctor for a professional sleep study.  Unfortunately, while the data provided by these apps could be a nudge in the right direction, it can also be a nudge in the wrong one. One fear in the medical community is that the app may say a person who does have sleep apnea does not, causing them to not seek the care they need.

If you do suspect you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, the app can provide a bit of insight, but ultimately you should be contacting your physician for a clinical or in-home sleep study. This is the only way to diagnose sleep apnea, and once it is done you can be on your way to safer sleeping!

If you need recommendations for sleep apnea diagnosis, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office and we’ll be happy to help. If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis and would like to speak to Dr. Abelar about using a mandibular sleep orthotic instead of CPAP therapy, please give us a call to schedule a consultation today!

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