For 21 years, 34-year-old Wang Youping of China's Shaanxi Province hasn't been able to shut his mouth due to his giant tongue.
The muscles in his 25-centimeter-long, 10-centimeter-wide, and 7-centimeter-thick tongue have grown such that the organ has squeezed aside his teeth and made shutting his mouth impossible. Explains The Mirror of his macroglossia:
From the age of six his tongue and face began to swell and by the time he was 13, Mr Youping's tongue had expanded so much that he was unable to close his mouth properly. Since then he has also been unable to speak clearly, eat normally or breathe comfortably. There is also a high risk that the vessels in his tongue could rupture and lead to a potentially fatal haemorrhage.
The piece doesn't specify what disorder has caused his tongue to balloon in size, but the genetic disorder Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome can cause specific portions of the body, such as the tongue, to grow at an accelerated and uneven rate (Mr. Youping was also born with an enlarged left ear and lips). He's scheduled for five surgeries over three years to reduce his tongue to manageable proportions.
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