A neurological condition called narcolepsy interferes with your ability to fall asleep and wake up. Narcoleptics are excessively and uncontrollably sleepy during the day. Additionally, they could jolt off to sleep in the middle of any activity, at any moment. One in two thousand Americans suffer from narcolepsy. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which typically lasts 90 minutes, comes after the deeper sleep period in the regular sleep cycle. When a person has narcolepsy, they virtually instantly enter REM sleep.
Why does narcolepsy occur?
Although the precise aetiology of narcolepsy is uncertain, several genes that control hypocretin production may be connected to the condition.
- Danger signs for narcolepsy
- Between the ages of 15 and 25
- Family history of the condition
- Brain tumour or damage
- Heavy metals and insecticides are examples of environmental poisons.
Two varieties of narcolepsy
Type 1: Cataplexy, extreme daytime drowsiness, and a lack of the brain chemical hypocretin are the hallmarks of this kind of narcolepsy. This chemical regulates arousal, alertness, and hunger.
Type 2: This kind of narcolepsy is distinguish by persistently excessive drowsiness without cataplexy.
Narcoleptics do not sleep more than those who do not have sleep issues.
What disorders are associated with narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is linked to a wide range of illnesses and behaviors, some of which are listed below:
- Agitated leg syndrome: It is a sleeping problem characterise by the overwhelming impulse to move your legs.
- Snoring and sleep apnea: It is a sleeping disorders that impair breathing while you’re asleep.
- Automatic response: In this case, you could nod off while engaging in certain tasks like walking, driving, or conversing. While you’re sleeping, you continue the action, and when you wake up, you have no memory of it.
How does a doctor identify the neurological condition?
Your doctor may do a physical examination and inquire about your medical and sleep histories in order to diagnose it.
A polysomnogram is a sleep test that necessitates an overnight stay at a sleep facility.
Your daily sleepiness is assessed using multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT).
You must measure your hypocretin level in order to determine your hypocretin level.
Five symptoms of narcolepsy
The following are the five traditional narcolepsy symptoms:
- Oversleeping during the day (EDS): Even after obtaining adequate sleep, this is still evident. It is difficult to carry out any tasks.
- Cataplexy: it is the medical term for an abrupt decrease of muscular tone. This may result in issues like slurred speech or complete collapse.
- Sleep paralysis: when you wake up unable to move due to sleep paralysis. A few seconds to many minutes are spent in sleep paralysis.
- Hallucinations: it can start a sleep cycle (hypnagogic) or start a waking cycle (hypnopompic).
- Sleep disturbances: it can occur at night as a result of vivid nightmares, respiratory issues, or irregular bodily movements.
How is the neurological condition treated?
A cure for narcolepsy does not exist. However, the following therapies can reduce the symptoms:
- Energizers for treating drowsiness. This comprises amphetamines, methylphenidate, modafinil, armodafinil, and solriamfetol.
- Xyrem (sodium oxybate) antidepressants are use to treat EDS and cataplexy.
- Wakix (pitolisant) to relieve drowsiness during the day.
Among the lifestyle modifications that can control the symptoms are:
- Avoid using nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Eat frequent, little meals rather than a few large ones.
- Follow a regular sleep routine and get 7.5-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Daily 20 to 30 minute workouts
- Throughout the day, take brief power naps (15 to 20 minutes).