Sleep Apnea and Psychological Functioning in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Source: Journal of Health Psychology, Nov 2009

[Note: Hypopnea, also termed ‘underbreathing’ is a disorder involving episodes of abnormally shallow breathing or low respiratory rate that causes a drop in oxygen level. During sleep it is a sleep disorder that may compromise sleep quality or disturb sleep. Sleep apnea involves pauses in breathing, either because of airway obstruction or the brain’s failure to signal muscles to breathe.]

Objectives were to:

1. To explore whether sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) should be considered a chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) comorbidity, rather than a diagnostic exclusion criterion; and

2. To compare sleep/wake/psychopathology in individuals with CFS, controls and another illness.

Participants (CFS, SAHS, controls) completed questionnaires and were evaluated for sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome; 68% were subsequently diagnosed with SAHS.

CFS participants with and without SAHS did not differ. Both clinical groups were less well adjusted than controls.

We conclude that:

• SAHS should not be an exclusion criterion for CFS, and

• Psychological problems in CFS seem a consequence of coping with illness.

Source: Journal of Health Psychology, Nov 2009;14(8):1251-1267. PMID: 19858344, by Libman E, Creti L, Baltzan M, Rizzo D, Fichten CS, Bailes S. SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, Concordia University; McGill University, Montreal, Canada. [E-mail: eva.libman@mcgill.ca]

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