Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that is caused by the brain’s failure to regulate the sleep-wake cycles. The disease is often associated with intense daytime sleepiness along with abrupt and overwhelming sleep attacks that can happen at any time. These bouts of extreme and irresistible sleep can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Because people will fall asleep while eating, talking, participating in every day events and driving or operating machinery, narcolepsy can significantly affect an individual’s daily activities.
The symptoms of narcolepsy most often appear between the ages of 7 and 25 but in rare cases it can develop at a younger age or later in life. The disease affects women and men equally and is a life-long condition. Although narcolepsy cannot be cured, with proper diagnosis, medication and lifestyle changes, the symptoms can be treated.
There are several major symptoms to narcolepsy but none of them are exclusive to this condition and that is why a diagnosis is so important by a Doctor experienced in sleep related conditions. The most specific symptom is cataplexy as it is rarely present without narcolepsy. According to the National Sleep Foundation the central symptoms linked to narcolepsy are:
After an initial and in-depth evaluation and medical history, our doctors may refer you to have a sleep study at our state of the art sleep center located in Largo. The polysomnogram (PSG) and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) are the most common test for determining if you have narcolepsy.
We recommend you keep a sleep diary where you record your symptoms and their length and degree for at least two weeks before your evaluation. We ask that you bring this and a complete family history with you on your first appointment.
If you suspect that you or a loved one suffer from narcolepsy, call our office for an appointment today. Often, those suffering from narcolepsy suffer for years before seeking treatment of this devastating disease which has the potential to lead to injuries and problems with interpersonal relationships. People with undiagnosed narcolepsy are 10 times more likely to be in a serious accident than those who are getting treatment.
The doctors at Bay Area Chest have years of experience diagnosing and treating narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Get the answers you need from knowledgeable Doctors who will compassionately work with you for a diagnosis and treatment of your narcolepsy or other sleep disorder today.