Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Palm City

Is Narcolepsy Affecting Your Day?

Do you suffer from extreme tiredness every day, regardless of how much sleep you get?

Do you fall asleep at the most inconvenient times?

Chances are that these symptoms affect your life in more ways than you realize. The Sleep Apnea Wellness Center in Stuart, Florida specializes in diagnosing and treating major sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy stuart

Our sleep specialists have helped countless patients conquer their sleep problems and start living a normal life again. Read on to find out more about narcolepsy, and how to get treatment.

what is narcolepsy stuart florida

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control the sleep-wake cycles. This results in uncontrollable sleepiness throughout the day. People with narcolepsy often get insufficient sleep due to waking up throughout the night.

Although narcolepsy doesn’t have any serious lifelong health issues, it often interferes with daily life. It can cause people to fall asleep suddenly, even in the middle of an activity like driving or talking.

How do I Know if I Have Narcolepsy?

It sometimes takes years to get a definitive diagnosis for narcolepsy, since some symptoms can overlap with those of other sleep and mental disorders.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: This is the most consistent symptom among individuals with narcolepsy. This can make people fall asleep suddenly without warning, no matter where they are or what they are doing. People with narcolepsy often feel refreshed and alert when they wake up, but feel sleepy again soon after.

  • Cataplexy: This refers to a sudden loss of muscle tone, which causes several adverse physical changes. It can make a person go from slur their words, become slumped over and unable to move. Strong emotions such as laughter, excitement, and sometimes fear or anger trigger this response uncontrollably. Some people with narcolepsy experience cataplexy daily, while others rarely experience it.  
  • Sleep Paralysis: Sleep paralysis is when a person is unable to move or speak as they are falling asleep, or immediately upon waking up. It can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. This symptom can be frightening since you are conscious but have no control over your body. Those who experience it sometimes have hallucinations during these episodes, and often think they are in grave danger.

  • Interrupted Sleep: People with narcolepsy sometimes experience difficulty staying asleep at night. This can be due to things like vivid dreams or body movements.
What causes narcolepsy stuart

What Causes Narcolepsy?

Unfortunately, experts don’t know what causes narcolepsy. Researchers think that it might have something to do with a lack of the chemical hypocretin. Some of the factors that may work together to cause a hypocretin deficiency are:

  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Family history
  • Brain injuries

How is Narcolepsy Diagnosed?

Multiple Sleep Latency Test Stuart Florida MSLT
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

This is usually performed the day after an overnight sleep study. During the MSLT, you will take 5 short naps 2 hours apart. This will determine how fast you fall asleep, and how long it takes you to enter REM sleep. Individuals with narcolepsy fall asleep more quickly and enter REM sleep more quickly.

Stuart Polysomnogram port st lucie narcolepsy diagnoses
Polysomnogram (PSG)

More commonly referred to as a sleep study, a PSG involves recording brain and muscle activity, eye movements, and breathing overnight.

Common Narcolepsy Treatments

Sodium Oxybate: This is a strong sedative that helps to treat cataplexy as well as daytime sleepiness.

Antidepressants: These are sometimes used to treat the problems with REM sleep.

Stimulants: This is usually the first line of treatment for narcolepsy. Modafinil is most commonly prescribed since it is less addictive and does not have many side effects.

Lifestyle changes: The medications that are currently available might not be feasible for everyone. And even if they are, a medication regimen should go along with lifestyle changes. People with narcolepsy can try things like taking scheduled naps around the times they usually get sleepy, avoiding caffeine at night, and avoiding smoking.

Narcolepsy is difficult to live with. But with the right treatment plan, you can lead an active, fulfilling life. The first step on that path is getting an accurate diagnosis. Our experienced professionals at the Sleep Apnea Wellness center will help you solve your snoring problems caused by Sleep Apnea. Call today for an appointment, and take advantage of our alternative to CPAP.

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