Narcolepsy is a complex and disruptive chronic sleep disorder characterized by frequent attacks of uncontrollable daytime sleepiness or drowsiness. 1 out of 2000 people may suffer from narcolepsy.
Causes: Although the exact cause is unknown and may vary from individual to individual, narcolepsy runs in families and has been linked to several genes. It may be an autoimmune disorder resulting in decreased production of a protein called hypocretin that regulates wakefulness, arousal, and appetite.
Symptoms: A narcoleptic will experience intense bursts of daytime drowsiness lasting about 15 minutes, sometimes followed by a brief nap. These can occur during daily activities such as working, driving, or talking to another person. Some people also experience dream-like hallucinations while awake. People with narcolepsy are more likely to also experience sleep paralysis. Sleep studies are recommended along with blood work and a full physical examination in order to identify your symptoms and rule out other conditions such as sleep apnea.
Treatments: Currently, there is no cure for narcolepsy but your sleep specialist can help you manage it through lifestyle modifications and medications. Lifestyle modifications can include scheduled naps, dietary changes, and driving restrictions. Some people require prescription stimulants in order to stay awake during the day, while others find that antidepressants can be useful. In some cases, narcolepsy can be managed by improving the quality of nighttime sleep. Your doctor will work with you to meet your individual needs.
Narcolepsy is a serious sleep disorder requiring sleep specialist attention. At the Zeeba Sleep Center in Las Vegas, we specialize in treating narcolepsy, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and more. Accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, we will work with you to meet your individual needs. Call us at (702) 242-1562 or contact us online today.