A change in tongue colour could be an indicator for heart failure, cardiologists have warned. Research presented at the Heart Failure Association claims that two specific colour changes are commonly found in people suffering from heart failure. This tongue examination could be used to help with diagnosis by medical examiners. It could also be a sign for members of the public to have their heart examined.
The colour change is caused by changes in the microorganisms inhabiting the coating of the tongue.
The microorganisms were examined in more detail by sequencing their genes from a tongue sample scrapped off with a spoon, prior to morning tooth brushing.
70 patients took part in the study, 42 with chronic heart failure and 28 healthy individuals.
None of them had oral or dental conditions that could confound the results.
A previous study looking at these microorganisms identified that examining them could also be used to detect pancreatic cancer.
The microbiome of the tongue in a pancreatic cancer patient contains a much wider range of bacteria.
The examination also distinguished between different types of cancer.
The researchers speculate there could be some association between the bacteria found in the human body and pancreatic cancer.
Some diseases and chronic conditions have implicated the microbiome as a potential cause.
Obesity, fatty liver disease and irritable bowel syndrome have been linked to changes in the microbiome.
Disruption to the microbiome can happen, which can lead to illnesses.
A common cause of this is wide spectrum antibiotics, which can render you vulnerable to other infections.