Idiopathic hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia is one type of sleeping disorder. It is an uncommon ailment but can be a serious case problem for those suffering from the condition. It is characterized by excessive sleep and daytime sleepiness. This disorder comes in two forms; the patient can either experience long sleep time or may be without long sleep time. People who are experience idiopathic hypersomnia with long sleep time can sleep for more than 10 hours at night but would still fall asleep or experience sleepiness in daytime.

To be able to determine the existence of idiopathic hypersomnia and administer the proper medication, the proper diagnosis should be implemented. There are other disorders that may be mistaken for this disorder. This is why it is important for a patient to go through a physical exam and observe his sleeping habits. To effectively diagnose the disorder, a patient should not take drugs for the duration of the sleep center tests he will undergo. A blood test may also be needed to rule out any other ailments that would cause the disorder. Psychological tests may also be implemented.

One of the exams a patient may undergo is the polysomnogram, which is an overnight study of the person’s sleeping habits. The exam involves attaching sensors to the patient’s skin to check and record the various activities of the person during sleep. These activities include patient’s eye movements, heart rate, brain wave activity, oxygen levels, muscle activity and breathing function. The polysomnogram is an important tool in eliminating other sleeping disorders that cause similar symptoms. Other sleeping disorders with similar symptoms are periodic limb movement disorder or obstructive sleep apnea.

Aside from the polysomnogram, there are various tests that a patient can take to diagnose idiopathic hypersomnia. A gadget one can use is the actigraphy which is a device that is worn on the wrist to track the sleep and wake cycles of a patient. Along with actigraphy, a patient should also carry a sleep diary to record the duration of his sleep during the night and day. Most doctors would also give out the Epworth Sleepiness Questionnaire that includes questions to determine the effects of idiopathic hypersomnia in a person on a daily basis.

The multiple sleep latency test can also be administered to patients. It is a type of test where the patient is observed when he is taking a nap during the day. It measures the duration of the time a person falls into sleep and started to shows signs of rapid eye movement (REM). People who have the disorder would fall asleep fast but do not enter REM quickly. This test help differentiate idiopathic hypersomnia from narcolepsy.

Treatment for idiopathic hypersomnia should include a change in lifestyle. There are also prescribed medications to eliminate the symptoms of this disorder. There is no known cure yet for this type of hypersomnia but lifestyle modifications and medicine can help minimize its risky side effects.

With proper self motivation and the development of better sleeping habits, it is possible to combat the effects of idiopathic hypersomnia. A patient should have a regular time for sleeping, during the weekdays and weekends as well. You should have enough sleep during the night, not too much and not too little. One should abstain from taking medications and alcohol that may cause interruption in your sleeping habits.

When your doctor diagnoses you with idiopathic hypersomnia, you would often be given medication to minimize the side effects. These medications mainly stimulate your central nervous system. Among these medicines are Modafinil, Methylphenidate and certain amphetamines. These are stimulants that are non-addictive. You should ask your doctor about possible side effects of these medications which may include heart palpitations and nervousness.

Last updated on Sep 22nd, 2010 and filed under Sleep Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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