A new study suggests that loud snoring from sleep apnea may be caused by a fat tongue. Being overweight has long been linked to loud snoring but now the new research confirms that a fat tongue may also be a major factor. United States researchers conducted a study on 67 sufferers who lost ten percent of their body weight over six months. Researchers confirmed that loss of tongue fat brings more relieving symptoms than the pterygoid and the pharyngeal lateral wall.
One of the researchers on the study, Dr. Richard Schwab, chief of sleep medicine at Pennsylvania University, said, "Most experts have not typically focused on fat in the tongue. We now know it is a major factor." The main objective of the study was to determine whether obese sleep apneics have increased tongue fat compared to obese subjects without sleep apnea. All subjects underwent an MRI scan with three-point Dixon magnetic resonance imaging which showed a reduction in tongue fat volume was the key.
The study mentioned that Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a major public health burden affecting more than 15 million adult Americans, and many others worldwide. In the long run, it can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and strokes. The study also suggests that low-fat diets and therapies to freeze and break down stomach fat might help beat sleep apnea. According to the research, this is the first study showing that the amount of tongue fat in obese apneic is greater than in obese controls.
According to the study published on the US National Library of Medicine, "There is increased tongue volume and deposition of fat at the base of tongue in apneics compared to controls. Increased tongue fat may begin to explain the relationship between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea."