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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Drowsiness, have gilbert's syndrome, anxiety, BP & blood sugar normal. High unconjugated bilirubin, CT & MRI scan of chest,chest x-ray, ECG all normal. Potential treatment?

Answered by
Dr. Hema Yadav

Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases

Practicing since :2005

Answered : 1528 Questions

Posted on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Question: Age: 21 (male)
Weight: 140lbs
Height: 5ft 7"
Neck Size: 13"
Medical history: Anxiety, Gilberts Syndrome
Symptoms: Drowsiness, shortness of breath.

I have been suffering from drowsiness for approx 12 months. It begins first thing in the morning and lasts until late afternoon. I feel better in the evenings.
I exercise 4-5 times per week which is intense cardio interval training and strength training. I eat a very healthy high protein low fat diet and take a multivitamin everyday. I just cannot understand why I am feeling this way. I don't actually fall asleep but I feel as if i could. I have a full time job working on computers which is not stressful. My life is otherwise happy, I have no other stresses or concerns aside from my anxiety. I sleep 7-8 hrs a day and have no problems during sleep. I do not snore. I have just checked my blood pressure which is 136/84 pulse 71. Blood sugar normal.

I was diagnosed with gilberts syndrome approx 12 months ago. This was when the drowsiness started. I have had numerous blood tests all of which were completely normal except for high unconjugated bilirubin. Peripheral blood smear showed atypical lymphs, target cells and stomatocytes at one point but a repeat test was clear. I have had ct and mri scan of chest and abdomen, chest xray, ECG, sleep study all of which were normal. I had extensive tests to rule out any sort of liver problem. Everything was normal, but my bilirubin remains high, hence diagnoses of Gilberts.

My GP just doesn't know what is wrong with me and doesn't know how to deal with my issue. I have asked if a prescription of a stimulant such as modafinil is possible but he is reluctant to prescribe it to me.

I do suffer from anxiety which has recently got worse, however there is no identifiable trigger for this. I wonder whether my sleepiness is somehow related. I have received cognitive behavioural therapy in the past and learned to deal with this quite well.

Please can you help me, by pointing me in the right direction as to whether there is anybody I should be referred to, what the possible causes are and whether there is any potential treatment. Many Thanks.
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 4 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

After assessing your history, it seems that you probably have a sleep disorder which sometimes may co-exist with conditions like anxiety, affective disorders.

The best way to confirm diagnosis and treatment is a thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist or sleep therapist who can assess it by methods like questionnaires, polysomnography etc. and suggest non pharmacological treatment or pharmacotherapy like stimulants as you mentioned modafinil. But before starting any treatment the confirmation of sleep disorder by the psychiatrist is a must.

It doesn't seem to be directly caused by XXXXXXX syndrome as you have well controlled it with life style modifications. Still any intrinsic illness especially liver disorders may affect your energy levels and cause excessive fatigue or drowsiness due to imbalance of toxic chemicals in body at microscopic or cellular level.

But again you are adequately practicing all necessary precautions in diet and lifestyle so there is no other specific treatment related to XXXXXXX syndrome which could help you.

I would advise you consult your psychiatrist for a sleep disorder analysis and sleep therapy or stimulant treatment as per his advice.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E

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