Are you suffering from poor sleep every night? You may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and it may be because you have a fat tongue!
A recent study reveals that if you suffer from OSA, the key reason that you snore, gasp, choke or stop breathing off and on while you sleep could be that you have a fat tongue. Yes that fat tongue could be the culprit that is ruining your sleep and potentially your health.
The study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, says that if you lose some of the fat in your tongue your sleep apnea will improve.
Dr. Richard Schwab, who is the lead author of the new study also did a previous study showing that obese people were at a higher risk for sleep apneas and that they had considerably larger tongues with a lot more fat in their tongues as compared to obese people who did not have the OSA condition.
The new study however, shows that you can reduce the fat in your tongue when you lose overall body fat.
Schwab and his team of researchers used MRI imaging of 67 obese patients who had a 10% weight loss. The images measured the effect on their upper airways which showed that the main reason for a 31% improvement in their overall sleep apnea scores was due to the reduction of fat in their tongues.
According to the results of the study, the more tongue fat that was lost the more sleep apnea improved among the study participants.
There are one billion people worldwide who suffer from OSA. In America there are about 30 million sufferers.
OSA can damage the white matter in the brain, heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and raise blood pressure and also contribute to depression.
OSA can be treated with continuous positive airway pressure better known as CPAP therapy. People who use CPAP therapy sleep with a mask over their nose and mouth which is connected to a machine that blows air into their mouths in order to keep their airway from narrowing.
Currently, researchers do not know why there is fat in the tongue since it gets a lot of exercise in that we use it to talk, eat, and breath. Yet it is marbled with fat. So reducing the tongue’s fat content is an important factor in treating OSA, says Schwab.