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Ideopathic Hypersomnia (IH)


Definition of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia is an unknown neurologic disorder of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS).  Typically is begins in adolescents.  IH is a life long disorder of sleep.  People with idiopathic hypersomnia sleep for long periods during the night (8-12 hours), yet are unrefreshed in the morning and struggle to wake and to stay awake during the day.  Symptoms of idiopathic hypersomnia are treated with medication and lifestyle changes to increase alertness.


Symptoms of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

The main symptom of idiopathic hypersomnia is daytime sleepiness after sufficient amount of sleep at night.   You may sleep 10 hours or more on a regular basis.  Despite sleeping so long at night, you have severe difficulty waking in the morning and feel very sleepy during the day.  You may take numerous naps but still feel sleepy after the nap.  Upon awakening, you may not feel alert.  You may feel confused or still asleep.  You may have difficulty maintaining employment, relationships, and responsibilities because of excessive daytime sleepiness.


Diagnosis of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

You should contact Dr. Gingras for evaluation if you regularly sleep for more than 8-10 hours and experience significant daytime sleepiness that interferes with your daily routine.  She will review your medical history and conduct a physical examination.   A clinical sleep study may be conducted to learn more about how your body functions while you sleep.  Dr. Gingras may schedule a  Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT).  The MSLT is a series of nap studies during the day.  The MSLT is done after a night time sleep study to evaluate how long it takes you to fall asleep for daytime naps and is a measure of daytime sleepiness.


Treatment of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

Treatment for idiopathic hypersomnia involves prescription medication, lifestyle changes, and treating underlying medical conditions or sleep disorders that may compound the symptoms.  Stimulant medications to increase alertness have been found to be the most effective form of treatment.  It is also imperative to maintain a regular sleep schedule.


Prevention of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

Because the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia is unknown, it is not known how to prevent the condition from occurring.  It can be treated.  Contact Dr. Gingras if you are excessively sleepy during the day.


Complications of Ideopathic Hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia can be a very debilitating condition.  It can interfere with employment pursuits, relationships, and daily activities.  Daytime sleepiness can be dangerous.  You should not drive or operate machinery when you feel tired.


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