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Do You Have a Fat Tongue?

If you do you may be at risk for sleep apnea.  A condition where the sufferer stops breathing temporarily many times a night.  The May “Berkley Wellness” newsletter reports that most people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it but their partners often hear loud snoring and breaks in regular breathing followed by gasping for air.

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This prevents restorative sleep and causes daytime drowsiness and a whole host of other health problems (heart disease, strokes, diabetes, depression and others).

Here are 5 warning signs:

  1. Large, fat tongue:  Look in a mirror, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out.  If you can’t see the entire soft projection hanging down from the back of the throat called the uvula, then your tongue is large.
  2. Thick neck:  If your neck circumference measures more than 17″ and you are a man or 16″ and you are a woman, then the airway is more likely to collapse when you are sleeping.
  3. Small upper jawbone:  Commonly found in under bite.
  4. Small lower jawbone:  Commonly found in over bite.
  5. Deviated Septum:  If the middle partition in the nose is crooked then air flow can be altered.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, talk to your family doctor about a referral to a sleep clinic where the diagnosis can be better confirmed.

In my next blog I will talk about what you can do if you have sleep apnea.

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