In patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the sleep history is very important and sleep apnea needs to be ruled out as one of the causes of CFS.
Sleep apnea with increase in weight gain is a fairly common disorder now in USA and in the world. It is now more common than bronchial asthma. The screening for sleep apnea is more commonly performed by primary care physicians making a general public awareness of the disease.
The following are some important screening points for obstructive sleep apnea:
• History of snoring
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• History of witnessed apnea (being told by someone that the person has stopped breathing while asleep)
• History of hypertension
• Neck size greater than 17 inches in males and 16 inches in females
If two or more criteria are present from above, one may have sleep apnea and it would be prudent to seek a medical evaluation.
With the treatment of sleep apnea, there should be improvement of the CFS but if it still persists, then other causes like restless leg syndrome, pain-related arousals, sleep interruption, constipation, etc., need to be looked into.