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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes excessive sleepiness?

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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2136 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 26 Nov 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: I am experiencing falling asleep while talking, working and driving. I am not anemic, I get plenty of sleep and am not depressed. There are times I feel I am in an altered state and it makes no sense. While I am writing info my writing becomes so small and I just drop off. when I awake I am disoriented. My employer is also concerned as she has witnessed this. Don't know where to begin. No new meds that should be doing this.
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Need sleep study

Detailed Answer:
Good evening and thank you for your question.

Your symptoms certainly do appear to point first and foremost to what we refer to medically as a sleep disorder. Specifically, one of the more common types of sleep disorders with the symptoms you refer would be SLEEP APNEA and possibly NARCOLEPSY.

Of course, narcolepsy requires that other disorders and physical problems be ruled out first. Therefore, my advice is to find a neurologist (interested in sleep disorders) or sleep disorder specialist in order to perform a good history, good physical examination, and appropriate labs to run tests such as thyroid studies, Vitamin D, urinalysis, Sedimentation rate, peripheral blood smear, serum Calcium levels, parathormone, and cortisol levels.

If everything checks out then, my next suggestion is that a sleep study specifically be performed geared toward ruling out both SLEEP APNEA and NARCOLEPSY as well as other disorders where HYPERSOMNIA (excessive need to sleep) is a problem. If the suspicion for NARCOLEPSY remains high after all is said and done and if sleep studies are either equivocal or non-confirmatory there is a certain chemical substance that could be assayed for in the spinal fluid by doing a spinal tap as well.

If I've adequately answered your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and being sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating if you feel my suggestions have helped? Again, many thanks for posing your questions and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 31 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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