Causes of abnormality
Exact cause is unknown. Most people with narcolepsy have low levels of the chemical hypocretin, an important neurochemical in the brain that helps regulate wakefulness and REM sleep.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness-fall asleep without warning, anywhere, anytime.
- Difficulty to concentrate and fully function.
- Cataplexy- Sudden loss of muscle tone, physical changes, slurred speech,weakness of most muscles, that lasts several minutes.
- Sleep paralysis-inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking.
Although narcolepsy is a life-long condition, most individuals with the disorder enjoy a near-normal lifestyle with adequate medication and support.With proper management and treatment, patients lead meaningful and productive personal and professional lives. If not properly diagnosed and treated, narcolepsy may have a devastating impact on the life of the affected individual, causing social, educational, psychological, and financial difficulties.
Treatment of symptoms
- Stimulants-Drugs that stimulate the central nervous system are the primary treatment to help people stay awake during the day.
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Sodium oxybate (Xyrem)- Highly effective for cataplexy. Improves nighttime sleep, which is often poor in narcolepsy and controls daytime sleepiness.
- Daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle tone.
- Polysomnogram (PSG)- overnight stay at a sleep center to test records of brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT)- Nap set times throughout the day, it is used to see how quickly you fall asleep in quiet daytime situations.