Habib M’henni, /Wikimedia Commons

Don’t think for a second that the typical patient with sleep apnea is a fat man with a thick neck. Skinny young women have sleep apnea.

In fact, it’s estimated that 25 percent of the population has obstructive sleep apnea, and that millions of people go through life having no idea that they have this condition.

It is strongly linked to a number of serious illnesses – common conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, kidney dysfunction, ADHD symptoms and difficulty losing weight.

The myth is that most sleep apnea patients are fat, and that all that extra fat in their throat tissue chokes them off while they sleep.

Though obesity causes excess fat in the throat which can easily contribute to airway collapse during sleep, here’s something you probably don’t know:

If a skinny athlete has a naturally small airway and/or small jaw, this anatomy alone can result in sleep apnea – no matter how physically fit this person is and no matter how healthful their diet is.


Hey, did you know that being awakened by a full bladder in the middle of the night is a common symptom of sleep apnea?

Do you have to “go” at least twice overnight, nearly every single night?

• Have you been told your frequent overnight trips to the loo are due to menopause? Think again; could be sleep apnea!

• Have you been told that your overnight active bladder is due to an enlarged prostate? Better rethink that!

• Sleep apnea causes a chain reaction in the body that results in the kidneys filling up the bladder with urine. When it gets full enough you awaken!

It’s not the other way around, in which a very light sleeper can’t sleep through a full bladder.

• The bladder is NOT supposed to fill up while you sleep! It’s supposed to stay EMPTY.

• Having to urinate overnight is called nocturia. Nocturia is a powerful predictor of sleep apnea.

Learn More About Obstructive Sleep Apnea by Clicking the Articles Below – in Plain English

All About the “Masks”

Crushing the Myths

Mild OSA

Peeing Overnight

Polysomnography (sleep study for diagnosis)

Scourge of Untreated OSA


What You Thought You Knew…

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.