To Treat Sleep Apnoea, First Reduce Fat From Your Tongue: Study

A breakthrough discovery: Scientists have found that obstructive sleep apnoea(OSA) can be treated by reducing excessive fat from the tongue. 

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Jan 14, 2020Updated at: Jan 14, 2020
To Treat Sleep Apnoea, First Reduce Fat From Your Tongue: Study

Have you ever noticed how fat is your tongue? While body fat is most talked about and is linked to health problems, tongue fat seems to be a new term. Researchers have found that tongue fat has a direct connection with the condition of sleep apnoea. To better your sleep apnoea problem, you must work on reducing tongue fat.

Sleep apnoea is a serious health condition that can trigger multiple problems like hypertension, diabetes, brain stroke, heart stroke and heart attack. In some cases, it also leads to depression. Thus, it is necessary to treat this condition to avert aforesaid complications.

A study featured in the 'American Journal of Critical Care and Respiratory Health' shows that tongue fat is one of the primary causes of obstructive sleep apnoea(OSA) and reducing it may also reduce the severity of this health problem.

sleep apnea

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As per Dr. Richard Schwab, Sleep Specialist, Penn Medicine, “The question then was if you reduce the fat in your tongue, does that improve your sleep apnoea? And the answer from our paper is yes.”

The research done by Dr. Richard Schwab focuses on the people who have obstructive sleep apnoea and are obese. He found that these people have a high tongue fat percentage as compared to others. This led to the conclusion that tongue fat could be a factor behind OSD. Therefore, research team calculated the effect of weight reduction in around 67 obese people with OSD through an MRI scan. The results were surprising. 10% of the decrease in tongue fat improved the condition of sleep apnoea by 31%.

sleeping problem

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Explaining the mechanism, Dr. Schwab said, “In fact, the more tongue fat you lost, the more your apnoea improved.” This shows that obesity has a direct effect on obstructive sleep apnoea. No wonder, obesity is one of the major reasons behind the development of a sleep disorder like this as it obstructs the airways to cause breathing issues.

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