6 Symptoms of KLS

Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS) is a rare neurological disorder that causes recurring bouts of excessive sleep along with a reduced understanding of the surrounding and altered behavior during wakefulness. Individuals with KLS may sleep for more than 20 hours a day. That is why it is referred to as “sleeping beauty” syndrome. This condition is more prominent among teenagers, but it can also occur in adults and young children. Though the exact prevalence rate is still unknown, it is estimated to be about 1 million people worldwide. About 70 percent of those affected are male.

KLS symptoms do occur as episodes, which usually last for days to a few weeks or months. During this time, the affected people stop living a normal life. Persons with KLS may suffer from severe fatigue, so they may be bedridden during the episode. These individuals are not able to attend to work, school, or participate in other routine activities. Basically, they cannot take care of themselves. The episode onset can be associated with flu-like symptoms and are often abrupt.

In between the episodes, persons with KLS appear to show no evidence of physical or behavioral dysfunction; they appear to be in perfect health. They also may not retain any memory about the events that happened during the episode. KLS episodes can be on and off over an extended period, and sometimes they may last for ten years or more. Kleine-Levin Syndrome can occur with other neurological disorders, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Some of its symptoms can also mimic other psychiatric disorders. It is therefore not uncommon for patients to be misdiagnosed. Below are the 6 Symptoms of Kleine-Levin Syndrome

1. Flu-Like Symptoms

This is the primary clinical symptom of Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Flu-like symptoms are very prominent when a person experiences KLS for the first time. In most cases, the symptoms occur after a fever or airway infection. Some studies have shown that viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus, Influenza A virus subtypes, herpes zoster virus, adenovirus, and varicella-zoster virus may be observed immediately before the development of the disorder. Several days after the episode starts, a patient may feel extremely tired.

Several studies have reported that the affected persons sleep for 12 to 24 hour per day during the episodes. At the onset of the episode, the symptoms are usually severe and make a patient feeling drawn to bed. The affected individuals may only wake up to urinate, defecate, or eat then go back to sleep. Some sleep studies about Kleine-Levin Syndrome revealed that the slow wave sleep is often reduced at the start of the episode while the REM sleep is normal at this period but tend to reduce towards the end of the episode.

With the above in mind, the condition may put patients at risk of injuring themselves, for example, if the episode occurs while driving on the road. This is why it is important to learn how to identify an impending episode, so as to remove oneself from a potentially dangerous activity or situation.