Hypersomnia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
Hypersomnia is a neurological condition that causes excessive sleepiness during the day or excessive time spent sleeping. People with hypersomnia have trouble staying awake during the day, even after long stretches of sleep during the night. They have difficulty functioning during the day as their attention, concentration and energy levels are impaired and affected.
The need to sleep can occur at any time including at work or while driving, making the condition potentially dangerous. Lack of attention and concentration can be there in people whose jobs request high levels of attention and time. For eg. In health care, it can result in injuries to patients and to self.
Types of Hypersomnia
Hypersomnia can be of two types- primary or secondary. Primary hypersomnia is less common than secondary hypersomnia.
- Primary hypersomniaPrimary hypersomnia occurs in the absence of other medical disorders. The only symptom is excessive fatigue.
- Secondary hypersomniaThis is due to other medical disorders such as sleep apnea, Parkinson's disease, kidney failure and chronic fatigue syndrome. This condition causes lack of sleep at night, leaving you feeling tired during the day.
Causes of Hypersomnia
The exact cause of hypersomnia is largely unknown. However, there are several possible causes, including
- Sleep disorders- In most cases, sleep disorders cause excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). When a person does not get enough sleep at night, it causes fatigue and sleepiness during the day. The two main sleep disorders that cause hypersomnia are narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Narcolepsy is a central nervous system disorder that causes daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, muscle weakness and difficulty sleeping at night, while sleep apnea is a breathing disorder in which the airways are blocked by tissues of the throat and mouth (soft palate). This causes snoring and sleep disturbance.
- Sleep deprivationThis is often the most common cause of hypersomnia and can be cured with adequate sleep and short naps during the day. Sleep deprivation is most often caused by stress, little or no exercise, vitamin D deficiency or poor diet.
- Neurological diseasesNeurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or even a head injury can exhibit symptoms similar to hypersomnia. When excessive daytime sleepiness develops after a head injury, it is called post-traumatic hypersomnia. It is not hypersomnolence, but has some of the same symptoms. Excessive sleepiness is also one of the early signs of a brain tumor, even when other symptoms are absent. results. Then rinse off.
- ObesityBeing overweight can lead to a number of health problems, including EDS. If a person is obese, he or she is more likely to suffer from sleep apnea because fatty tissue in the throat and soft palate obstruct the airways in the supine position. Difficulty breathing causes unhealthy sleep, multiple episodes of breathing upon awakening and snoring. This leads to sleep deprivation and hypersomnia.
- Substance AbuseAddiction problems such as substance abuse are often at the root of a number of sleep disorders. Withdrawal can cause insomnia, sleep apnea, and other disorders. Prolonged use of prescribed drugs can also cause sleep disturbances, which interfere with normal body functions. All of these lead to sleep disturbances at night and excessive sleepiness during the day. Smoking, caffeine, and other lifestyle problems also cause hypersomnia.
- GeneticsIf anyone in your family has or ever had a sleep disorder or hypersomnia, they may have a higher risk of EDS.
Symptoms of Hypersomnia
Hypersomnia is primarily defined by excessive sleepiness or sleeping more than 10 hours at night. The symptoms are
- Difficulty while walking.
- Confusion upon waking.
- Desire to take a nap.
- Irritation and restlessness.
- Lack of energy.
- Memory and speech problems.
- Slow thinking.
- Loss of appetite.
Diagnosis of Hypersomnia
To make a diagnosis, the doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. He or she might order several tests to diagnose your condition. They include
- Sleep diaryDoctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary where you can record sleep patterns to help track sleep.
- Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS)This is intended to measure daytime sleepiness by using a very short questionnaire. Doctors may ask you to rate your sleepiness with this tool to determine the severity.
- Multiple sleep latency testIn this test, you take a monitored nap during the day to measure sleepiness and the type of sleep you experience. A machine called a polysomnogram monitors the brain activity, heart rate, eye and leg movements and breathing functions.
Treatment for Hypersomnia
There are several treatments that may improve quality of life, depending on the cause of hypersomnia. These include
- MedicationsPrescribed medications like modafinil, methylphenidate and amphetamine are effective in helping you to stay awake during the day.
The doctor may recommend
- Getting on a regular sleeping schedule.
- Avoiding activities, such as working late at night.
- Taking a high nutrition diet to maintain optimum energy levels.
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs that can affect sleep.
When to see a doctor?
You should see a doctor for hypersomnia if:
- You fall asleep regularly during the daytime.
- Excessive sleepiness interferes with your daily life.
- You snore very loudly or wake up gasping for air at night.