Not actually a condition, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) often is a symptom of another condition that may or not be sleep-related. The manifestation of EDS is simple enough -- sufferers have consistent periods of sleepiness, drowsiness or even sleep, all during daytime situations that call for alertness, perhaps in the workplace, the classroom or even driving a car.
Various scientists have estimated the number of Americans suffering from EDS; some put it at 18 percent of the general population. Whatever their numbers, EDS sufferers risk impairments to their driving, work and classroom performance and overall quality of life.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness may sound like the definition of the sleep disorder Narcolepsy (see narcolepsy section), but while EDS at times can be related to Narcolepsy or other sleep disorders, it may also be caused by other conditions or even be untraceable to other health issues.
For example, Chinese researchers recently stated: "The reason why the prevalence of EDS is so high in China . . . . might be a result of increase in obesity and overweight in Mainland China, extensive use of electronic products, and a cultural peculiarity of taking afternoon naps of the Chinese." And other studies say Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease is a contributing factor to EDS.
One of the most common causes of EDS is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (see OSA), and similar breathing disorders, which often are triggered or exacerbated by obesity. Another possible cause of EDS cause is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), the urge to move legs while lying down or sleeping. In short, EDS has been associated with a wide range of pulmonary, cardiac, psychological and neurological disorders. It seems to affect more women than men, and those over 75 are more susceptible.
Clinicians treating EDS which is secondary to another health condition must take into account the contributing problem and its management. Behavioral and psychological programs may be initiated and, if necessary, appropriate medications may be prescribed.