Sleep Medicine located in San Antonio, TX & Houston, TX
While narcolepsy disrupts your daytime wakefulness, the effects aren’t necessarily as dramatic as portrayed in movies and television. Academy Diagnostics in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, offers expert diagnosis and treatment for narcolepsy to help you keep regular sleep and wakefulness cycles and maintain a high quality of life. Call Academy Diagnostics or schedule a consultation online today if you’re concerned about narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy Q & A
What is narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that disrupts your regular cycles of sleep and consciousness. It causes abnormal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and can cause cataplexy — attacks of muscle weakness. Narcolepsy usually emerges in your 20s or 30s and affects both men and women.
There are three categories of narcolepsy: Type 1, Type 2, and secondary. Type 1 narcolepsy includes cataplexy. Type 2 narcolepsy doesn’t involve cataplexy and mainly involves excessive daytime fatigue. Secondary narcolepsy develops from an injury to the hypothalamus in your brain.
The exact cause of narcolepsy isn’t fully understood. However, medical researchers believe it could be an inherited autoimmune disease that causes a hypocretin deficiency. Hypocretin is a chemical your brain needs to stay awake.
What are the warning signs of narcolepsy?
The primary symptom of narcolepsy is daytime sleepiness. You always feel fatigued or tend to nap or doze off throughout the day, often at inappropriate times. These unplanned naps are known as sleep attacks.
You might also have reduced concentration, low energy, poor memory, and depression. Some patients might experience sensory hallucinations.
If you have Type 1 narcolepsy, you could experience cataplexy, which is sometimes brought on by strong emotions. Sleep paralysis is another sign of narcolepsy.
When should I talk to a doctor about narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy symptoms are often disorienting and frightening. If you have any symptoms of narcolepsy, make an appointment at Academy Diagnostics.
While the physicians are board-certified sleep medicine experts, diagnosing narcolepsy can take time because of the variety of tests needed to confirm your diagnosis.
How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
Academy Diagnostics begins with a physical exam to check for signs of health conditions that could interfere with your sleep and wakefulness.
They review your medical history, symptoms, and sleep habits. Your physician asks about your bedtime routines, perceived daytime sleepiness, and other sleep-related questions.
Then, your physician orders sleep studies and tests, including:
- Multiple sleep latency test
- Maintenance of wakefulness test
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
You might also keep a sleep journal to track the details of your sleep during the day and night, as well as other factors like how tired you feel, what you eat, and your exercise routine.
How is narcolepsy treated?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for narcolepsy. However, Academy Diagnostics offers treatment to help manage your symptoms.
Depending on your specific needs, your physician might prescribe medication to reduce daytime sleepiness or antidepressants, which suppress REM sleep and can control cataplexy.
You might also find that lifestyle modifications such as adhering to a regular bedtime and sleep routine, getting regular exercise, and adjusting your diet to limit alcohol and caffeine can lessen your symptoms.
If you think you’re suffering from narcolepsy, call Academy Diagnostics or make an appointment online today to get customized treatment.