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Diagnosing Sleep Apnea With At-Home Test

MIAMI (CBS4) -- There is a new and easy way to diagnose sleep apnea at home. It's a problem for millions of people and can be difficult to diagnose, until now.

Feeling tired in the morning is a common complaint for many, especially if you have a partner who snores all night. Paul Nye and Jerry Hofer are exhausted and coffee dependent.

"Every now and then I wake myself up snoring," said Jerry.

"I thought there was definitely an issue. I didn't know what it was," said Paul.

They were told Jerry needed to be tested for sleep apnea. The disorder causes people to temporarily stop breathing repeatedly when they're asleep. Snoring is the main symptom.

"It's very, very dangerous and needs to be treated," said sleep expert Dr. David Censits. He says sleep apnea is traditionally diagnosed at a sleep center.

"They look dreadful. I just don't want to do that. I was afraid I would go in, just not sleep, and defeat the whole purpose of the program," said Jerry.

As an alternative, Jerry tried the Watermark ARES, an at-home sleep apnea test. It fits around the head, and has a small nose piece. Just like the equipment that takes readings at a sleep center, the at-home model monitors things like brain waves, breathing, and heart rate.

"It's so easy. You're doing it in your own room, so you can get in your own bed, your blanket," said Jerry.

After one night wearing the device the results are analyzed. In Jerry's case, the test confirmed he has sleep apnea.

"It's going to enable many more people who have a serious disorder to be tested and diagnosed and treated," said Dr. Censits.

The at-home apnea test has to be prescribed by a doctor. It costs much less than going to a sleep center, as little as $40, depending on insurance coverage.

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