Uncontrollable Sleepiness While Driving and Working
I have days that I can hardly stay awake when driving home and it's uncontrollable and feels like I have been drugged or something. I also have times at work that I'm sitting at my desk/computer and will just start to drift off. I've been holding a pen or something and would just almost drop what I have in my hand. When I am a passenger in a vehicle, I get so sleepy, my eyes just shut and I start dropping off to sleep. I'm 54 and healthy, so I'm not sure what may be taking place here. I get a good 7 hours of sleep each night and I'm one that falls to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I very seldom wake up during the night, but when my alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m., sometimes I feel like my body is so tired and sore that I can hardly stand up on my two feet. I've voiced my concern with my medical doctor and I think she is relating this to female changes, but this has not just started. It's been going on for a few years now. If anyone can give me some guidance as to where to start in searching for the cause of this, I would greatly appreciate it.
The most common cause of daytime sleepiness is simply chronically elevated glucose levels. There are other possibilities, of course, ranging from structural abnormalities (i.e. a tumor) to endochrine system problems.
Certainly your physician should not have simply dismissed your complaint.
That being said square one is an hba1c test and a fasting glucose test.
If the tests suggested and other blood tests your doctor may order to rule things out don't pinpoint an answer, I would want a sleep study. Of course the first suspect is usually sleep apnea, but I happen to also have something called Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. It was the daytime sleepiness and aches and pains that the doctors couldn't find an explanation for that landed me in a sleep clinic. Where to start? Tell your doctor you want them to order blood tests for everything that commonly causes daytime sleepiness. You should have those results in a matter of days. If the answer isn't there, tell the doctor you want a sleep study. (Notice I didn't say ask.) This is too serious to not be assertive about it. Sleepy driving endangers you and everyone on the road, as much or more than drunk driving. I had to give up driving until my issues were addressed. Someone I know lost his wife when she fell asleep at the wheel coming home from work - 1 mile from home. I fell asleep at the wheel 2 blocks from home. You should not have to live like this, and you shouldn't have to figure it out - your doctor should. I have an excellent doctor, but after one more negative test where he was gave me the results as if it was the end of that, I told I needed him to not stop until he had answers. That's when I got the sleep study. Diagnosing and treating my sleep disorders is the best thing I could have done for myself. By the way, if everything else is ruled out, they may bring up narcolepsy. Best wishes for a speedy answer and for safety till then.
Thanks for all the recommendations and I will definitely request further testing with my regular physician. My sugar level has checked out ok, but my father had low sugar and its been years since I've had a glucose tolerance test done. Could there still be something going on when the sugar level in just a CBC comes back ok? I feel like I'm a very shallow breather, so I wasn't sure if maybe my oxygen level drops and that may also cause the sleepiness. I do know that I've not been told that I hold my breath or anything when I'm sleeping and I'm not someone that snores heavily. I guess my first step is to have further bloodwork done. For me to be at work and start to drift off sitting at my computer typing is bad. I have to get up and walk around to straighten myself out. Maybe my metabolism is down to much of nothing. LOL Thanks again for all the suggestions.
Keep that sleep study high on the list. Again, this is not a wait-and-see type of situation. It is literally a life or death situation. Sleepy driving kills. Not trying to be all alarmist or anything - just direct and to the point. Do something - NOW - or get off the road. There are people I love out there. And people you love too.
Sleepikat, did you ever find out what the problem was? I have the same exact problem. I'm about 10 years younger than you, but this has been going on for a couple of months for me and I am very concerned. I'm calling my doctor today, but just wondered how you made out since our situations seem to be so similar.
At the height of my Obstructive Sleep Apnea, there were days when I was so tired driving the 50 interstate miles home from work that I had to focus to stay awake and concentrate on the road; my sole goal was to make it home. Once there, I'd fall on the sofa and sleep for a couple of hours. Well...sort of sleep, as I was experiencing OSA there as well. First a sleep study, then CPAP, and I was a new man.
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