-One of the commoner causes of severe excessive sleepiness.
are three basic reasons that a person could be too sleepy:
OR POOR QUALITY SLEEP. Best example: patients with sleep
apnea. Their alertness will be restored once their
sleep-related breathing problems are controlled.
BRAIN MECHANISMS THAT NORMALLY SHOULD KEEP ONE AWAKE. In such
cases, even if sleep were perfect, the individual would still
be too sleepy. Best example: narcolepsy.
COMBINATION OF BOTH OF THE ABOVE. For example, some people
develop narcolepsy in late childhood or their teen years--and
then, with increased age and weight, also develop sleep apnea:
making an already bad situation worse.
POINT! If a patient with both sleep apnea and narcolepsy is
treated at a facility that focusses only on sleep apnea and
if the diagnosis of narcolepsy is missed, the results can be
of sleep apnea in individuals with both problems will make
them "better but not better enough". The
fact that management of sleep apnea will protect them against
cardiac complications and stroke will be small consolation should
they subsequently fall asleep at the wheel anyway, from their
still untreated narcolepsy, with serious injury or death of self
is no law against having more than one sleep disorder or more
than one cause of a single basic symptom such as sleepiness.
It is important to ensure thoroughness of the care that you
involves both "brain sleepiness" as
explained above, and disturbances
of REM sleep (a tendency for
it to occur too rapidly after sleep onset and for its component parts
to intrude into wakefulness--with distressing symptoms). Resulting
cataplexy is diagnostic of narcolepsy, and not all narcoleptics
suffer from cataplexy.
Who develops narcolepsy?
can occur in people of both sexes. Symptoms--particularly sleepiness--usually
begin in late childhood, the teen years or the early twenties.
Narcolepsy can begin after age 30: but such is relatively uncommon.
In contrast, while sleep apnea can develop in childhood, it more
often becomes a significant and progressive problem later in
HENCE,TWO VALUABLE CLUES TO THE POSSIBLE
DIAGNOSIS OF NARCOLEPSY IN A SLEEPY PERSON:
of sleepiness early in life, particularly
if no severe snoring was noted then. For example, falling
asleep more frequently in school than one's classmates,
taking naps after school, and in some cases, hyperactive
behavior (which in children, can be a manifestation of