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If you’re worried about your heart, say “ah”!
Not because it’s time to relax. Nope, according to a brand-new study, the tongues of people with heart failure look totally different from those of healthy people.
Here’s what to look for when you stick out your tongue…
The color and the coating count
The study, performed at the No.1 Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, set out to determine how the look of your tongue could be used as a diagnostic tool in heart failure.
Sounds strange, right?
But the truth is that previous research by the same group of scientists had already demonstrated that microorganisms in the tongue coating could help them distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer from healthy people. Yes, just by looking at patient’s tongues they could tell who had cancer and who didn’t… and determined that the test could be used as an early marker to diagnose cancer when it was still most treatable.
So how in the world are the microbes on your tongue linked to a disease like cancer (and now heart failure)?
Well, according to the researchers, since certain bacteria are associated with immunity, an imbalance in those microbes can also stimulate inflammation and disease.
And that’s exactly what got them wondering about heart failure and if signs could be visible on the tongue. So, they set out to test their theory…
The team recruited 42 patients in the hospital with chronic heart failure along with 28 healthy controls. To make sure the study was valid, the researchers also made sure that none of the participants had oral, tongue or dental diseases or even an upper respiratory tract infection or had used antibiotics in the past week that could affect the outcome of the test.
After observing and taking samples of the participants’ tongue coatings, they came to a few important conclusions:
- First, all of the heart failure patients shared the same types of microorganisms in their tongue coating.
- Healthy people also shared the same microbes among those within that group.
- There was no overlap in bacterial content between the two groups.
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And here’s where it really gets good…
“The tongues of patients with chronic heart failure look totally different to those of healthy people,” said study author Dr. Tianhui Yuan. “Normal tongues are pale red with a pale white coating. Heart failure patients have a redder tongue with a yellow coating and the appearance changes as the disease becomes more advanced.”
Strange but true — if you have heart failure, your tongue is going to look different from if you’re healthy.
The mirror test
Now, hopefully, you see a doctor regularly and practice a heart-healthy lifestyle. Because watching your tongue for signs of heart problems is no replacement for those things. But if you’re curious, try the mirror test…
Stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue. Is it a healthy pale red with a pale white coating or do you have signs of heart failure, with a darker red tongue and a yellow coating?
If you see the signs of heart failure, it’s time to see your doctor right away.
Other early signs of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in your lower extremities
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Lack of appetite
- Poor concentration
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
While the cause behind your heart failure can’t always be reversed, there are treatments available that can help protect your heart to help you live longer and better.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25 cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To find out about these and more, click here to read the doctor’s free report!
Tongue microbes provide window to heart health — ScienceDaily
Heart Failure — Mayo Clinic