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Reducing fat in your tongue may help improve sleep apnoea

This study shows reducing excess fat, in general, can reduce tongue size. ©Shutterstock

Sleep apnoea can cause brain white matter damage, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and it may even contribute to depression. Researchers say the more tongue fat you lose, the more your apnoea will improve.

Written by ANI |Published : January 13, 2020 10:44 AM IST

A research study in the American Journal of Critical Care and Respiratory Health showed that tongue fat maybe one of the main reasons 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? And the answer from our paper is yes."

Obesity poses a risk for the onset of this medical condition that may lead to snoring and breathing difficulties for its patients during the night.

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CNN Health reported that in previous research by Dr Schwab it was found that the study subjects who were obese and suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea had tongues with higher fat percentages as compared to obese people who didn't suffer from this condition.

A sleep specialist from the University of Southern California, Dr Raj Dasgupta, though not associated with this study, told CNN: "This study shows reducing excess fat, in general, can reduce tongue size."

In this study, the researchers measured the effect of a 10 per cent reduction in weight on the upper airways of 67 obese OSA patients. These tests were carried out using MRI scanning.The scans showed that sleep apnoea scores improved by 31 per cent as a result of tongue fat reduction.

Dr Schwab explained: "In fact, the more tongue fat you lost, the more your apnoea improved."OSA can have a wide range of damaging effects on its sufferers which includes brain white matter damage, hypertension, increased chances of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and it may even contribute to depression.

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