A new study claims tongue fat could increase your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) - a condition which causes patients of the condition to stop and start breathing in their sleep. Now, researchers say reducing tongue fat could reduce the seriousness of the medical condition.
“Now that we know tongue fat is a risk factor and that sleep apnea improves when tongue fat is reduced, we have established a unique therapeutic target that we’ve never had before,” study author Dr Richard Schwab, the chief of sleep medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told a news portal.
Doctors need to examine the tongue during screenings, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Fat deposition within the tongue — and potentially other structures surrounding the upper airway — may transform our understanding of the link between weight gain and OSA, with wide-ranging implications for diagnosis and treatment,” Dr Eric J. Kezirian, a professor in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Southern California, told a news portal.
Patients who have excess tongue fat could benefit from losing it to improve their sleep quality “To see the real benefits of weight loss in reducing tongue fat, the patients that would benefit the most are those who have substantial tongue fat, to begin with,” Kezirian told a news portal.
More research is needed to discover new ways to reduce tongue fat. “Tongue fat does not exist in specific areas that would be amenable to typical liposuction, unfortunately,” Kezirian told a news portal. “Many patients get turned off by CPAP and they won’t come and see their doctor,” Schwab told a news portal. Adding, “There’s other options out there and you should investigate those options with your physician. There are serious consequences of not having your OSA treated.”
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