Washington: New research has revealed that a fat tongue could be a major reason 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."
Dr Schwab is the lead author of this study that got published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
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.
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 percent 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