Long tongue is also life threatening!

In medical science, a long or big tongue (tongue) is a serious problem, which is called macroglossia, due to which the quality of life is spoiled while it becomes life. Due to long or large tongue, along with difficulty in speaking, breathing and eating, cosmetic problem i.e. beauty deteriorates. Patients with macroglossia keep their tongue out of the mouth, making it difficult to talk and breathe.

In our society, long tongue means to speak loudly or to reply back, but in medical science, long or big tongue (tongue) is a serious problem which is called macroglossia, due to which the quality of life is spoiled. Comes. Due to long or large tongue, along with difficulty in speaking, breathing and eating, cosmetic problem i.e. beauty deteriorates. Since the tongue is part of the digestive system, it is considered a digestive system disorder, it can be congenital or can occur at any time later.

What symptoms emerge?

Patients with macroglossia have tongue out of the mouth, problems with talking and breathing, drooling, wheezing (stridor), abnormal growth of jaws/teeth, snoring, frequent biting of tongue .

Why does the tongue get bigger?

Big tongue can be due to these reasons-

Syndromes: Congenital macroglossia is caused by Down, Beckwith Wiedemann, Hunter, Hurler, Robinow, Maroteaux-Lamy, Crouzon and Apert syndromes.

Cognitive muscular dystrophy: In some people, it is caused by cognitive muscular dystrophy. Cognitive (congenital) muscular dystrophy (CMD) is a group of genetic disorders that cause impaired muscle growth, called hypotonia. Such muscles tend to weaken or loosen over time. Macroglossia is a symptom of CMD. CMD also causes problems such as large leg muscles and weakness of the hands, delay in motor development (muscle nerve control) and difficulty in breathing.

Acromegaly: Acromegaly is the cause of tongue enlargement in some people. Acromegaly is a condition in which the body produces too much of the growth hormone that develops the tissue of the tongue. Due to this, apart from enlarging the tongue, the hands and feet and face of the person become big and he has difficulty in sleeping, this condition develops gradually.

Amyloidosis: In this rare but genetic disease, the tongue becomes elongated, due to which an abnormal protein called amyloid in the organs does not function as they should. In addition to the enlargement of the tongue, amyloidosis affects the functioning of the digestive system, heart, kidneys, nervous system, liver and spleen. A study in 2020 revealed that if the digestive system is affected by amyloidosis, the sufferer may develop macroglossia.

Hypothyroidism: Underactive thyroid gland causes the tongue to enlarge because of not producing enough hormones in the body, sugar molecules are formed inside the tongue, due to which the person becomes a victim of macroglossia, it can be congenital or at any time after birth .

Hemangioma: In this, a non-cancerous tumor is formed from blood vessels itself, its symptoms appear soon after birth. This type of tumor occurs in the area of ​​the head and neck, due to which the tongue becomes elongated.

Inflammatory condition: Inflammation caused by glossitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis, polymyositis and multiple myeloma cancer can lead to macroglossia.

Physical trauma: Macroglossia can occur as a result of physical trauma, a very painful condition. Sometimes it is caused by complications from cervical spine surgery or surgery called craniofacial area posterior fossa. In many cases, injury to the tongue causes macroglossia.

What are the risks with a big tongue?

Macroglossia affects physical development, causing the teeth to appear crooked and the jaw abnormal. Children have difficulty speaking and adults have difficulty breathing. Problems such as obstruction in the respiratory system, difficulty in chewing food, pain in the joint of the lower jaw, fear of biting the tongue, dryness in the mouth, salivation and upper respiratory tract infection. In severe cases, a blockage in the respiratory tract due to lack of oxygen reaching the brain can lead to stroke or heart attack.

How is it confirmed?

To confirm macroglossia, the doctor examines the size of the tongue in relation to the rest of the mouth and checks for scarring, swelling or discoloration (discoloration) in the tongue. In addition to information about medical history and other symptoms, blood tests check thyroid function. In some cases, imaging tests such as CT or MRI examine the tissue around the tongue.

How to treat macroglossia?

It is treated according to the symptoms, like in speech therapy, we teach to control the tongue, so that the problem of speaking can be overcome. Hypothyroidism, acromegaly and tuberculosis are treated with medicines. Dentists remove the grown teeth in the wrong place and put new teeth, sometimes dental surgery is also needed. In about 10 percent of cases, a surgery called glossectomy removes the extra part of the tongue, which improves the ability to eat and speak.


Don’t take macroglossia lightly, whether it is congenital or later developed. Get immediate treatment. With treatment, its symptoms are controlled to a great extent and the quality of life of the victim improves. If it causes difficulty in breathing or snoring, then it can be fatal, so consult a doctor as soon as possible.

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