Excessive Yawning Could Be A Sign of Serious Disease

Yawning is an involuntary opening of the mouth and accompanied by breathing inward then outward. It is a natural response when you are tired or sleepy. However, if you experience excessive yawning for unknown reasons, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Some of the common medical conditions that may lead to excessive yawning are described below.

    Sleep disorders

    Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, may disrupt nocturnal sleep, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness and thus may trigger excessive yawning.

    Vasovagal reaction

    This happens when there’s increased activity in the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for the regulation of heart rate and blood pressure.

    When the vagus nerve becomes more active, heart rate and blood pressure drop significantly. This results in less blood reaching the brain. In such a situation, the body may automatically try to up its oxygen intake by yawning in order to ensure oxygen reaches the brain.

    Multiple sclerosis

    Excessive yawning is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), and some MS patients report symptom relief after they yawn.

    People who are suffering from MS have thermoregulatory dysfunction where they are unable to control their body temperature. Yawning tends to cool down their body temperature. This may be why yawning is associated with multiple sclerosis.

    Brain problems

    Since a number of brain chemicals control yawning, pressure in the brain caused by a tumour, stroke, or a head injury can cause excessive yawning. Yawning can also result from compression of the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.

    Liver disease

    The last stage of liver disease can also cause excessive yawning. Scientists believe that this is due to the fatigue that liver disease causes.

If you find yourself yawning more often than usual for no known reason, see your doctor to find out what could be causing it. If it is accompanied by any other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat, seek medical help immediately as it could indicate a serious health condition.

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