The GASP Questionnaire is a tool that I have used to guide further screening. It consists of 5 questions. Over the years this questionnaire has scored higher and now I am at 5/5. I find this a useful start in talking about OSA.
Check Your Uvula
Another thing to look for, and this is more for the medical practitioner but it is something anyone can try, is to see how far down your soft palate or uvula covers the back of your throat. Ever wonder why your doctor was looking into your mouth? One of the reasons was to see the shape of your soft palate. Now the primary reason for looking is for redness and possible infection, but the quality of your airway is also important. This is called the Mallampati Score Mallampati Score and mostly used by anesthesiologists.
Check for Clenching
While you are looking in your mouth there are two signs that are important to pick up. The first is a callous formation in the inside of your cheeks running horizontal on one or both sides. This ridge is something we can feel with our tongue and means that we are excessively clenching. We call this linea alba. Now you might say, “I don’t clench.” But if you have this sign or callous that means that this is happening. Most likely it is while you are asleep.
Feel the inside of your cheeks. Do you feel a line or ridge? Look for any bumps as well.
If you have this then you are clenching, a lot!
The next is tooth marks on the tongue. These are called ruggae and they can mean a couple of things. One is that it is another sign of clenching and is usually associated with linea alba. It can also mean poor tongue control and a tongue thrust. It can also mean that your upper arch is too small or narrow.
Check and check. I have both.
I think I may have OSA. What should I do?
There are a few things you can do to start. Dr. Robert Vogt is a family medicine physician in Colorado Springs who starts his sleep screening with an overnight pulse oxygen reading. Here is the company that they use. VPOD Ultra
Based on this test they determine if a sleep study is necessary.
I decided to go straight to a sleep study. For 125 dollars I conducted an in home sleep study measuring breathing, oxygenation of my blood, heart rate, movement and snoring. I wore my Apple Watch on the other wrist to do a comparison. I've always been curious to see if a smart watch can accurately track my sleep.
To be Continued…