No matter what our age is, there are always certain diseases and health problems that can invade or attack our system. Older adults are prone to having fractures due to accidents and loss of bone strength while infants and young children are prone to having infections due to their immature immune defenses. Young teens or adolescents, on the other hand, can also experience certain abnormalities in their health. Aside from experiencing common diseases, teens are also prone to having unusual disorders. One of these is so called the Kleine-Levin syndrome. What is the Kleine-Levin syndrome and what are it’s symptoms?
Definition of Kleine-Levin Syndrome
We all know that teens sleep more often than adults do. This is in fact considered normal as part of the body’s response to growth and development. However, some teens also experience excessive sleeping that is already considered abnormal or unusual. This condition is commonly known as the Kleine-Levin syndrome. The Kleine-Levin syndrome is a type of rare neurological disorder that is caused by the presence of recurrent episodes of excessive sleeping.
Signs and Symptoms of Kleine-Levin Syndrome
This sleep disorder is considered to be extremely rare which makes it unique compared to other types of diseases or ailment. This condition involves recurrent episodes of excessive sleepiness which is otherwise known medically as hypersomnolence. Because of this, problems or difficulties in thinking and eating can also be associated with this type of disorder. During the episodes of excessive sleeping, the affected person may sleep for hours, days and some, even weeks. Most of these individuals suffering from this disorder are very difficult to arouse and will usually experience weight loss due to the inability to eat properly. Eating problems are possible since most people with this disorder is not awake long enough to eat. Once they are awoken, most of them appear in an almost dream-like condition.
Some of the episodes of sleeping can last from 3 days to as long as 3 weeks before it will subside. These episodes usually occur every 6 months in a year. Nevertheless, the affected person will usually appear normal in between these episodes. However, some cases may also have several episodes in a year, which ceases only after 4 to 8 years. Some may even experience Kleine-Levin syndrome for decades.
Some of the other unusual or rare symptoms that can appear from this disorder are the following:
Kleine-Levin Syndrome Symptoms
• Hypersexual behavior – abnormal increase in libido or sexual drive.
• Compulsive behavior
• Depression – can be mild or severe
• Apathy – the lack of interest or care for other things.
• Hallucinations – false perception of things without any stimulus.
Who are affected by the Kleine-Levin Syndrome? (Incidence)
Although there are only few people whoare diagnosed with this disorder, Kleine-Levin syndrome can be experienced by anyone. Teens are mostly affected by this health or neurological problem. The average age of onset for this sleep disorder is around 16.9 years. Nevertheless, it can still affect children as young as 8 years old and young adults as old as 25 years. More than 81% of all cases occur during the second decade of life and boys or males are twice affected than girls or females. Nevertheless, it is the girls who usually experience longer courses or the disorder.
What are the Causes of Kleine-Levin Syndrome?
Even up to now, there is still no known cause for this disorder. However, during the hypersomnulent episodes, abnormalities on the polysomnography can be noted. This condition often occurs randomly however a possible cause could be that it is triggered because of an autoimmune response. About 43% of cases are preceded by the infection.
Treatment and Management for Kleine-Levin Syndrome
The usual treatment used of Kleine-Levin Syndrome is the administration of a mood stabilizer like lithium. This drug is also used to manage bipolar disorder. Other known treatment options against Kleine-Levin syndrome are through the use of electroconvulsive therapy, amphetamine stimulants as well as seizure medication.
These are just some of the important facts about the Kleine-Levin syndrome, which includes the causes, symptoms and treatment for the disease. Sleep is considered a very helpful activity for the body. Aside from giving rest, sleep can also help in gaining back all the energy that is loss during the day’s work. However, too much sleep can already become a hindrance to attaining optimum health which makes our muscles and bones weak and fragile.