Narcolepsy is a condition of the neurological system that often manifests itself between the ages of 15 and 25 and affects between 0.02% and 0.18% of the population. Although narcolepsy is uncommon, the illness may have profoundly disabling effects throughout the day.
The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy
Excessive daytime drowsiness is a hallmark symptom of narcolepsy. There is a strong need to sleep at these times, and it’s not uncommon to take a little nap or have a “sleep attack” during this time. These episodes of sleep often last little more than 15 minutes, though they might last longer, and leave the sufferer feeling rested and ready to go about their day as usual. Patients with narcolepsy may fall asleep significantly more quickly than the general population and may also suffer from other kinds of sleep disruption such as sleep paralysis and sleep fragmentation.
‘Cataplexy,’ an abrupt decrease of muscular tone that renders a person immobile, has been linked to narcolepsy. Caused by intense feelings like laughing or fury, cataplexy attacks often last little more than 30 seconds, making them easy to overlook. During these episodes, a person may experience a loosening of the jaw muscles, an abrupt forward slump of the head, and a weakening of the knees. However, in extreme circumstances, cataplexy may leave the victim motionless for many minutes.
The first stage of sleep is called “non-rapid eye movement” (NREM), and it is followed by “rapid eye movement” (REM) sleep a few hours later in a normal sleep pattern. However, many who suffer from narcolepsy skip through NREM sleep altogether and go straight into REM sleep. This might cause you to have intense dreams just after you fall asleep. Involved dreaming and a lack of muscular movement define REM sleep.
The diagnosis of narcolepsy may be aided by scheduled daytime naps (called the multiple sleep latency test) in a sleep laboratory, when REM-sleep onsets occur in at least 2 out of 4 nap chances.
Research reveals that narcolepsy may be a hereditary illness, which would be handed down via families in their DNA, although much needs to be found about the exact origins of this disorder. Specifically, studies have indicated that persons with narcolepsy have reduced amounts of a protein called hypocretin in their brains. It has been hypothesised that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system targets the body’s own cells (in this instance, those responsible for creating ‘hypocretin’), due to the importance of the chemical hypocretin in regulating sleep patterns.
However, other, contextual elements probably play a role in the onset of the condition as well. Pregnancy, changes in sleep schedule, brain injury, and extreme stress are further risk factors for developing narcolepsy. More than half of those who suffer from narcolepsy report experiencing such things in the months leading up to the onset of their condition.
Drugs used to treat narcolepsy
Though there is currently no “cure” for narcolepsy, the sleep condition may be treated Artvigil, and Waklert. its symptoms reduced, with the right approach. Eating smaller, vegetarian meals throughout the day and planning naps may help regulate daytime sleep and cut down on the amount of unexpected nap episodes.
In addition to behavioral modifications, medication may be recommended for dealing with cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations associated with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
While narcolepsy presently has no cure, medical therapy and lifestyle changes may assist. More information on these topics is provided below.
To combat fatigue and fall asleep
Changing one’s behaviour is one approach of dealing with narcolepsy. Naps of 15 to 20 minutes are often necessary throughout the day.
Although no prescription is likely to be 100% successful, a doctor may also prescribe a central nervous system stimulant to avoid drowsiness.
You have the following choices:
In most cases, modafinil or armodafinil will be the first options considered.
The other medications have been around longer and are more likely to cause dependency. Also, they may cause mood swings, heart rate fluctuations, and other uncomfortable side effects.