A Fat Tongue May Be Blocking Your Airways While You Sleep
13 January, 2020, 06:24
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 11 (ANI): A new research has revealed that a fat tongue could be a major reason for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).Dr Richard Schwab, a sleep specialist from Penn Medicine, told CNN Health: "The question then was if you reduce the fat in your tongue, does that improve your sleep apnoea?" The findings were made based on MRI scans of the upper airway in obese people suffering from this condition. They also found correlations between sleep apnea improvement and a reduction in the size of certain muscles - namely, a jaw muscle used for chewing, known as the pteroid, and muscles on the sides of the airway known as the pharyngeal lateral wall - but not to the same extent as a reduction in tongue fat.
According to scientists, tongue fat can be a potential therapeutic target for improving sleep apnea.
It is usually marked by loud snoring and can increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Obesity is the primary risk factor for OSA, and previous studies have shown that decreases in body weight result in decreases in the Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI), a measure of how often a patient's breathing stops completely or partially while sleeping.
In a study conducted with 67 participants with mind to severe OSA (a mix of sleep disrupting symptoms) and a BMI over 30, lost 10 per cent of their body weight in six months through dieting or surgery.
The participants lost almost 10 per cent of their body weight, on average, over six months through diet or weight loss surgery, and correspondingly their sleep apnea scores improved by 31 per cent after the intervention. Overall, the participants' sleep apnea scores improved by 31 percent after the weight loss intervention, as measured by a sleep study.
Using statistical analysis, the researchers quantified the changes between overall weight loss and reductions in the volumes of upper airway structures to determine which structures led to improved sleep apnea.
A sleep disorder that can leave people gasping for breath at night could be linked to the amount of fat on their tongues, a study suggests.
The researchers now plan to work out which low-fat diets are particularly good at slimming down the tongue.
However, the researchers said, these types of interventions have not yet been tested.
Larger and fattier tongues are more common among obese patients.
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