I was watching wonderful Julianne Wotasik and Jeannette DePatie’s appearance on Dr. Drew, and Dr. Pinsky (Pinsky is Dr. Drew’s last name, and I prefer to use that, since he is not my friend) brought up sleep apnea as a fat health problem. Jeannette asked if thin people didn’t get sleep apnea and he lambasted her saying that she was confusing obstructive sleep apnea (which Dr. Pinsky apparently thinks is a fat-only condition) with central sleep apnea (which apparently only thin people get).
I am fat. I have sleep apnea. But I have been fat most of my life and I only developed sleep apnea recently.
When I went to the class my HMO provided for sleep apnea there were people of all sizes and ages there, and the doctor pointed out that obstructive sleep apnea affects people of all sizes and ages. Hmmmmmmmmm.
So I went online, and what I found was that indeed, while some fat people do develop obstructive sleep apnea, average-sized and thin people develop it too. Ditto with central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea (which is a mixture of the obstructive and central sleep apnea). Yes, fat people are at a greater risk of sleep apnea, as are older people and men. But we’re not the only show in town.
I was telling Whaliam how frustrated I was that a doctor (even a TV doctor) would misconstrue a health condition like this – either he doesn’t understand the condition (in which case he should shut up about it) or he does (in which case he’s perpetuating false information to support his own biases).
Whaliam said that it maybe when a fat person sees Dr. Pinsky, he or she can only have fat problems:
Patient: I have a headache.
Dr. Pinsky: You have a fat headache.
That made me laugh.
So now, I’ve decided that I should use fat to describe everything about me.
Maybe if I do that, I will show others how silly it is to think that fat defines everything.
So I’m going to go brush my fat teeth, so I don’t get any fat cavities!