I’m at work today and I can’t seem to get my mind out of medical mode. So be it. One thing I say probably 20 times a day is “Open up and say AH”. Do you know why we make you say “AH”? Because when you do that it causes the soft palate (back of the throat) to raise up and the tongue to move down – voila we can see what’s going on back there! Just a little factoid for the day.
Besides seeing the tonsils and the back of the throat, doing this also allows me to see what your airway looks like. Most of the time, when I look at the back of someone’s throat I can predict whether or not they snore! The more crowded the back of the throat is (see diagram), the more likely you are to snore and the more likely you are to have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is actually a pretty serious condition and many, many people don’t realize they have it. The main symptoms are daytime sleepiness, snoring, non-restorative sleep (feel like you never slept even though you slept all night), morning headaches, restless legs, acid reflux, falling asleep easily while watching TV or sitting down and chronic fatigue.
So google the Epworth Sleepiness scale and take the questionnaire. Go to the mirror, open up and say AH. Compare what you see to the diagram. If you score high on the Epworth and your Mallampati is 3-4, ask your doctor about being tested for sleep apnea.
This has been a public service announcement from a very uninspired doctor trying to blog every day. You’re welcome.