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Do you have a fatty tongue? It may cause sleep apnea

Oversleeping is one of the main culprits of weight gain. It is recommended that you sleep for 7 hours at a stretch and not more than that.

New research says that sleep apnea can be treated by trimming the fat from your tongue. Read on to know about it.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : January 12, 2020 10:28 AM IST

Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. This is a serious disease. Your risk increases if you are obese. It usually occurs when your throat muscles relax when you are fast asleep. At times, your brain may not send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. But whatever the cause, early treatment is necessary.

According to a new study at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, losing tongue fat may improve sleep apnea symptoms. Researchers say that losing weight is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but why exactly this is the case has remained unclear. The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published this study. Researchers caution that the condition, which is usually marked by loud snoring, can increase your risk for high blood pressure and stroke. While obesity is the primary risk factor for developing sleep apnea, there are other causes, such as having large tonsils or a recessed jaw.

Researchers believe that 'tongue fat is a potential new therapeutic target for improving sleep apnea'. They are hopeful that future studies can explore whether certain low-fat diets are better than others in reducing tongue fat and whether cold therapies, like those used to reduce stomach fat, may be applied to reducing tongue fat.

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What you can do

This condition required medical intervention. But you can also try to lessen the severity of symptoms by putting in a little effort. If you are overweight, the first thing you need to do is lose your extra weight. This significantly improves your sleep apnea problem. Avoid smoking and stay away from alcohol because it may relax the muscles in your throat and make things worse. You can also try some breathing exercises to make the muscles of your airways strong.

Risks of sleep apnea

If you don't seek proper and timely treatment, this condition can increase your risk of many chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, stroke and heart diseases. Besides, because of day time tiredness, you may be at risk of injury and accidents especially if you drive. You are also likely to be more depressed and suffer from anxiety.

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