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Feeling sleepy all the time neurologist

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Hi Doctor, My dad who is 75 yrs of age is facing a peculiar problem since last 6 to 8 months, he feels sleepy all the time, even after having a good night's sleep. This problem of his has started effecting him mentally and he remains flustered since the cause is not determined as yet.we have had general routine tests and practically all the parameters have been within the normal range...he takes medicines for thyroid, which remains within permissible limits with the daily dosages and also took medicines to keep a check on the Uric acid levels.In addition to this he has had cramps in his legs which makes him a slow mover specially when he is about to get up or sit.his verbal communication sometimes require an articulation...looking forward for some help and direction from you..

Category: Adult Neurologist

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Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
Dr. Steve Merris is online now

Expert:  Dr. Steve Merris replied 4 Days.

Thank you for asking the query.

Excessive sleepiness can be due to a variety of causes. But in your Father’s case the problems with verbal communication and the leg cramps point towards a possible neurological cause. But before jumping into conclusion we need to consider all the possible and treatable causes. Also we need to make sure the night’s sleep he is getting is complete and fulfilling.

I would recommend you these steps for that:

  1. Make sure he is sleeping comfortably in the night. Some time’s the patient might be having troubled sleep, which we might miss. This is because we may find him deep asleep in the night and morning, but in between his sleep is disturbed. As whether he is having any night tremors, disturbing dreams, sleep walking or any external stimuli causing sleep disturbance.
  2. Review his medications and see whether he is taking any antidepressant, anti-allergy or sleep medication. Sometimes Doctors may prescribe such medications in elderly to ensure adequate sleep
  3. Rule out Depression. This is the most common cause of increased sleepiness. If the patient is having depressed mood or thoughts, feeling lonely or left alone, or having less interest in day today activities, it should be noted. If that is the case he might need a Psychiatrist consultation.
  4. In the blood tests you have done, see whether Liver and Renal function tests are done. If not, those has to be done
  5. Supplement with  a B complex Vitamin daily. Vit B12 deficiency can cause neurological signs and symptoms.

    Follow the above steps. Even after say 7 days if there is no improvement in the symptoms then the patient will need a thorough neurological evaluation to rule out conditions like Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s, Stroke etc . A MRI brain also might be need. I recommend consulting an experienced Neurologist if that is the case.

Thank you

Dr. Steve Merris
Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
Medical School - New York University
Internship in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Residency in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine - Columbia University Medical Center
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