Doctors considered the patient lazy until they diagnosed a rare disease (6 photos)

Category: Health, PEGI 0+
11 April 2024

As a child, Alyssa Davis often fell asleep in class, but attributed the fatigue to lack of sleep. The 26-year-old model and marketer realized she needed medical attention when sleepiness became a daily problem.

Doctors brushed Davis off, telling her to "just drink coffee" until she took part in a clinical sleep study. Only then did the girl find out her diagnosis - idiopathic hypersomnia.

“It’s like being in the movie Groundhog Day. But instead of experiencing the same day, I experience the same fatigue,” Alyssa said in an interview.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is a rare neurological disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness for no apparent reason and affects only 50 people in a million.

Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, brief episodes of sleep paralysis and confusion.

“I have to muster up the strength to just take a shower,” she explains. “I sleep 10, 12, sometimes even 14 hours, and wake up feeling like I didn’t go to bed.”

According to Davis, in high school her health worsened: she began to fall asleep in class, sometimes even having to go home to take a nap.

“During dance classes, I constantly fell to one side, fell on the floor, unable to stay upright,” recalls the North Carolina resident. “I was ashamed, but I didn’t understand what the problem was.”

Doctors called Alyssa lazy until she saw a real specialist in 2017. He suggested that she undergo a sleep study, during which she had to sleep 14 hours.

The results showed that her body never entered the state of deep sleep necessary for proper rest.

In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for idiopathic hypersomnia.

Davis is currently undergoing further testing to begin treatment with Xywav. She shares her story to raise awareness of the sleep disorder and encourage others to seek treatment.

“It wasn’t an easy path, it’s still difficult for me, but now I know my diagnosis and I’m ready to fight,” Alyssa concluded.

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