What do you think of a person yawning? Most likely, they didn’t get enough sleep or they are bored. Meanwhile, this reflex has other reasons, including those related to dysfunction of certain organs.
When a person yawns, they open their mouth wide and take a deep breath. This does not last more than a few seconds. This innate reflex stimulates a number of important processes in the body. In the process, a number of hormones are released for a short time, which help the body invigorate. They activate blood circulation, increase heart rate and normalize blood pressure. This explains the fact that if we haven’t had enough sleep or have lost concentration, we begin to yawn frequently. It is also believed that through this action the body tries to lower the temperature of the brain.
Normally, a person yawns 7-20 times a day. This number may increase due to changes in blood pressure, lack of sleep, during a stressful situation. Yawning reduces the concentration of cortisol in the blood. It happens that this process becomes one of the symptoms of changes in the body that can lead to the development of serious diseases.
Disorders of the heart and blood vessels
Yawning can be caused by a disruption of the nervous regulation of the heart. This reflex is an attempt by the body to regulate the functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Increased yawning is often associated with a decrease in blood pressure. Hypotensive people know this very well. It also becomes more frequent in people whose profession involves inhaling certain odors. In particular, these are perfumers, cosmetics sellers, florists. The concentration of barbiturates in their body increases, which reduces blood pressure and disrupts the activity of the heart. If you yawn repeatedly every 15 minutes, it’s better to think about changing your occupation.
If we are talking about disruption of the heart, then the cause of yawning is stimulation of the vagus nerve, which regulates the functioning of the heart muscle. And again, the reflex occurs when blood pressure decreases and heart rate slows. It is important to understand that in this case other symptoms of cardiac pathology will be present: chest pain, shallow breathing, gait disturbance.
Yawning can be a symptom of cerebrovascular accident and often worsens immediately before a stroke. During a stroke, body temperature rises, including in the brain area. And the body tries to regulate it. In this case, frequent yawning will be accompanied by symptoms such as paralysis of one part of the face (can be seen by a distorted smile), the inability to raise an arm, and slurred speech. If you notice this, call an ambulance.
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
If apnea is not accompanied by sounds, you may not even suspect the existence of such a problem. According to statistics, every fifth adult suffers from a mild degree of this disease. Its manifestations can intensify under the influence of stress, changing seasons, and muscle tension.
Obstructive apnea syndrome reduces the supply of oxygen to the body, which affects all organs and tissues. People with this disorder can sleep 8 or 10 hours a day, but still not get enough sleep and feel exhausted during the day. Their concentration will be reduced and their reflexes will be slow. Also, after waking up in case of apnea, dry mouth may be present. In this case, yawning is necessary to cheer up and compensate the body for the lack of oxygen.
Chronic fatigue, depression
Lie down, sleep and everything will pass, or take a walk in the sun, and your mood will immediately improve. Such advice does not work with these conditions! Both chronic fatigue and depression are associated with changes in hormonal levels and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. In particular, cortisol levels increase, which provokes increased yawning.
The manifestations of chronic fatigue and depression are sometimes similar: reluctance to do something, apathy, loss of strength. A doctor will be able to distinguish one from the other.
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Anxiety disorders, panic attacks
These conditions are characterized by a whole range of somatic disorders, in particular increased cortisol levels, disruption of the heart and autonomic nervous system. Yawning in this case will also act as a compensatory mechanism. Additional symptoms of these conditions will be: rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, sleep and eating disorders.
Distortions in the position of the body in space can cause compression of the chest. In this case, it will be difficult to take a deep breath and the lungs will not be able to open fully. Yawning in this case helps to regulate the balance of gas intake and release.”
Yawning can also (albeit slightly) relieve muscle tension. And in the case of incorrect posture, it is always present and worsens with a decrease in physical activity. This is why those who have sedentary jobs yawn more often.