Could Your Tongue Be Causing Your Sleep Apnea?

Could Your Tongue Be Causing Your Sleep Apnea?

besttongue-mediumMillions of Americans are at risk for sleep apnea. This is a disorder that affects an individual’s breathing during sleep. The word “apnea” comes from a Greek word meaning “want of breath.” When an individual is dealing with sleep apnea, they stop breathing while they are sleeping.

These breathing cessations can last from ten to thirty seconds and an individual can have up to 400 per night if they have severe sleep apnea. In fact, some individuals have this condition so bad that they get no sleep because they’re awake every thirty seconds with another episode.

Sleep apnea is a very common condition. The signs and symptoms include chronic snoring with periodic choking or gasping for air. Additionally, due to the fact that they are not getting quality sleep at night, many individuals suffer from fatigue and daytime drowsiness. However, the effects go far beyond fatigue. Individuals with sleep apnea have higher blood pressure and

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inflammation in their arteries.

Overall, the medical community doesn’t understand sleep apnea very well. However, there is ongoing research into this condition. It is known that there are specific factors that could put an individual at risk for developing sleep apnea. Those risk factors are as follows:

  • Male
  • Overweight/Obese
  • Over 40 years old
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  • Large neck (17+ in men; 16+ in women)
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
  • Nasal obstruction (allergies, sinus problems, deviated septum)
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Large tonsils or tongue; small jaw bone

Studies have linked obesity with sleep apnea- and now, more and more professionals in the medical community are pointing to large, or “fat”, tongue as one of the main culprits behind this sleep disorder.

One study done at the Sleep Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center proves that obese patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have an increased amount of fat deposits in their tongue.

There are two variations of this sleep condition:

  • OSA: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • CSA: Central Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two and is caused by a blockage of the airway. This typically happens when cell spy the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses while an individual is sleeping.

Central sleep apnea does not involve a blockage of the airway, but a failure of the brain to signal the muscles to breathe.

The study mentioned above took 90 obese adults with sleep apnea and 90 obese adults that did not suffer from this condition. The findings showed that those who did suffer from sleep apnea had much larger tongues, and a much higher percentage write my research paper of fat deposits on their tongue than those that did not suffer from the condition. This

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tongue fat was concentrated at the base of the tongue, near the throat.

In addition to the fact that the size of the tongue is increased due to the higher levels of tongue fat, it may also keep the muscles from being able to position the tongue away from the airway during sleep.

On the other hand, though the study did prove that there is a link between the content of tongue fat an individual has and their sleep apnea, it did not prove cause and effect. Researchers do state that future studies should focus on whether removing this additional tongue fat through weight loss, exercises of the upper airway, or even surgery could help to make sleep apnea better.

According to Dr. Timothy

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Morgenthaler, the President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the size of an individual’s tongue should be one of the physical features evaluated when a physician is screening obese patients to determine their risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Effectively identifying and treating sleep apnea is vital in order to manage other conditions that are linked to this disorder including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, and type 2 diabetes.

There are some statistics connected to sleep apnea that you may be surprised to know.

As many as 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This means about one in 15 Americans are afflicted with this condition. Around 2-4 percent of Americans suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea, which means that about 1 out of every 50 Americans have not been told that is what they have.

Individuals suffering from sleep apnea have a much higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident due to the fact that they are sleepy and unable to concentrate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says writing an essay describing yourself that at least 100,000 accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths are caused every year due to drowsy driving.

Around 300,000 order essay online children undergo tonsillectomies every year due to sleep apnea caused by the tonsils blocking their airway.

Finally, even the person sleeping with someone suffering from sleep apnea

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loses sleep. It has been said that due to the snoring, heavy breathing, and gasping of the individual suffering

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About the Author

541480_10151782779092178_1954746168_nHobson Lopes is a 2012 graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. He is a professional writer and author of a cookbook for men called Men Cook Too. He is also the owner of The First Pitch and can be followed on Twitter.


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