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Swallowed the tongue does not mean the tongue goes into the throat. The term swallowed tongue is used for the condition where the back of the tongue slides to close the respiratory tract which is located just under the tongue
Tongue swallowed is a very dangerous condition. If the airway is blocked by the tongue for too long, the airflow from the nose and mouth will not flow into the lungs. As a result, a person will have difficulty breathing, the supply of oxygen to the lungs and heart is reduced, then it can lead to death.
Causes of Swallowed Tongue
Tongue swallowing generally occurs in an unconscious state. In everyday life, swallowed tongue is often associated with the following conditions:
In the world of sports, tongue swallowing cases are generally caused by physical impact or trauma, especially to the head. This case is often found in football, boxing, or rugby.
A collision can make a person lose consciousness. When consciousness decreases, muscles throughout the body become weak, including the muscles in the tongue. This condition causes the tongue to slide backwards and block the airways so that the air supply to the lungs is blocked.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs when a person sleeps. Swallowed tongue is one of the causes of sleep apnea, especially in people who have large tongues or someone who is obese.
In addition, the term swallowed tongue is often associated with convulsive conditions due to the influence of epilepsy. The tongue swallowed during an epileptic seizure is actually a myth. In fact, a person who has a seizure will not experience a swallowing of the tongue. The risk that may occur during a seizure is the tongue is bitten.
How to Handle Swallowed Tongue
Swallowed tongue is an emergency and dangerous condition, so the victim must receive fast and appropriate treatment. Swallowed tongue can be recognized by a number of symptoms, but the most common is shortness of breath.
If you come across a situation like this, don't panic. Keep calm and give help as soon as possible by:
- Make sure the patient is lying on his back in a flat place.
- Avoid padding on the underside of the head.
- Push the chin/lower jaw up until the head is tilted up so that the tongue returns to its normal position and the airways open.
- Pull the tongue to its normal position using your fingers as soon as possible so that the respiratory tract opens again.
Proper and fast handling will prevent the impact of swallowed tongue that is life-threatening. If the condition of the patient with tongue swallowing does not improve or gets worse, immediately take him to the hospital for immediate treatment and action from the doctor.