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Less Fat in the Tongue Can Treat Sleep Apnea

OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is a common sleep disorder. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania have concluded that symptoms of sleep apnea can improve through fat loss, specifically in the tongue.

Chief of Sleep Medicine, Richard Schwab, M.D., says that fat is an established risk factor in OSA and that the disorder improves when there is a reduction in tongue fat. He also adds that this is a therapeutic target that they never considered before.

Millions are affected by sleep apnea. A distinguishable symptom is loud snoring that increases the patient’s risk for stroke and elevated blood pressure. Though other causes, such as a recessed jaw or large tonsils can cause OSA, the most common cause is obesity.

After the weight loss treatment of the participants in the study, they were subjected to MRI scans. Experts saw a significant decrease in tongue fat. They were able to establish the relationship between weight loss and improvement in sleep apnea.

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