Hypersomnolence in older adults increases risk for multiple comorbidities
Older adults who reported hypersomnolence were more likely to have several other medical conditions, according to findings of a longitudinal study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting this spring.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, hypersomnolence is excessive sleepiness three times a week for at least 3 months despite sleeping at least 7 hours a day. These patients also have recurrent periods of sleep or lapses into sleep within the same day, a prolonged main sleep episode of more than 9 hours daily that fails to restore the patient’s abilities, and/or problems staying fully awake after abrupt awakening.
Researchers, including Maurice M. Ohayon, MD, PhD, DSc, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, analyzed phone interviews from 10,930 adults (3,701 aged at least 65 years; 59.3% women). The interviews were conducted in two waves, 3 years apart.
Ohayon and colleagues reported that 22.7% of the adults aged at least 65 years reported hypersomnolence during the first round of interviews. This percentage increased to 23.7% during the second round of interviews. Chronic hypersomnolence — defined by the Hypersomnia Foundation as “usually lifelong after onset” — was identified in 40.9% of the older adults.
Researchers found that after adjusting for obstructive sleep apnea and sex, those who reported hypersomnolence during the first wave of interviews were at greater risk for diabetes (RR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5-3.4), cancer (RR = 2; 95% CI, 1.1-3.8) and hypertension (RR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5-3.4) during the second wave of interviews. In addition, those who reported hypersomnolence during the second wave of interviews were more likely to have diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (OR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2). Also, patients who reported hypersomnolence or chronic hypersomnolence during the first interview or both interviews were at higher risk for developing CVD at the time of the second round of interviews (RR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.5 and RR = 2.5; 95% CI, 1.8-3.4, respectively).
Ohayon said the findings should prompt discussions with patients about the possible medical consequences of hypersomnolence.
“Paying attention to sleepiness in older adults could help doctors predict and prevent future medical conditions,” he said in a press release. “Older adults and their family members may want to take a closer look at sleeping habits to understand the potential risk for developing a more serious medical condition.” – by Janel Miller
Hypersomnia Foundation. Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) characteristics. https://www.hypersomniafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/IH-Characteristics-and-Diagnostic-Criteria.pdf. Accessed March 2, 2020.
Ohayon MM, et al. Hypersomnolence is a significant predictor of new medical conditions among elderly people in a longitudinal study of the general population. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology annual meeting; April 25-May 1, 2020; Toronto.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Impact of the DSM-IV to DSM-5 changes on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2016 Jun. Accessed Feb. 27, 2020.
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