Physical Findings

The physical findings of obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) can be obvious from across the room; while asleep, people with OSAHS tend to snore and take long pauses (greater than 10 seconds) in their breathing.

In fact, it is not uncommon that a bed-partner makes the diagnosis and then tells the patient’s physician of the problem. Otherwise, while awake, such a person’s physical exam can be quite normal because the airway becomes narrowed only in sleep.

A physician may note physical findings that are suggestive of OSAHS, including small facial bones, narrowed or blocked nasal passages, a large tongue, (for men greater than 17 inches and women greater than 15 inches) a long or low uvula or soft palate.

A large circumference of the neck, and/or occasionally an enlarged thyroid or swelling in the ankles.

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