Fatty tongues behind sleep apnoea

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Kathmandu, January 12

A study claimed that people with fatty tongues may be at risk of the sleep disorder. The study also suggested that the sleep disorder that leave people gasping for breathe at night could be linked to the amount of fat on their tongues.

As per the BBC, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, scanned 67 people with obstructive sleep apnoea who were obese and had lost 10% of their body weight, improving their symptoms by 30%. The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers looked at the size of patients' upper airway structures and were able to find out what changes had driven the improvements.

The patients' weight loss also led to a reduction in the size of a jaw muscle that controls chewing and muscles on either side of the airway, which also helped.

"Now that we know tongue fat is a risk factor and that sleep apnoea improves when tongue fat is reduced, we have established a unique therapeutic target that we've never had before," said study author Dr Richard Schwab, of Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, quoted as saying by BBC.

Actually, sleep apnoea is a common disorder that could cause loud snoring, noisy breathing and jerky movements when asleep. It could also cause sleepiness during the day and affect quality of life.

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnoea, in which the upper airway gets partly or completely blocked during sleep.

Those who are overweight or who have a large neck or tonsils are more likely to have the condition, according to the researchers.

Researchers suggested to try to lose weight if overweight, sleep on side (try a special pillow to help), give up smoking, no drink too much alcohol, especially before bed and not taking sleeping pills unless recommended.

Last modified on 2020-01-12 14:20:02

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