Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by EDS, rapid eye movement (REM), sleep behavior disorder (RBD), and cataplexy. Patients with narcolepsy experience episodes of uncontrollable muscle weakness during REM sleep. These episodes usually occur after waking from a deep sleep. In addition to these three main features, patients with narcolepsy also experience vivid dreams, hallucinations, disturbed nighttime sleep patterns, and sometimes even seizures. Here are some facts about narcolepsy:
What is Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is an incurable condition that affects the brain’s ability to regulate sleep and wakefulness. The symptoms of narcolepsy-include Excessive daytime sleepiness or falling asleep while doing simple tasks such as reading, watching television, or talking on the phone. Sudden attacks of extreme drowsiness are called “cataplexy.” Abnormal sleep-wake cycles.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), narcolepsy-occurs when there is a malfunction in the brain’s control center for regulating sleep and wakefulness. This causes the body to fall into a state of continuous sleep. However, the exact cause of this disease remains unknown because it has been linked to many different genes.
Symptoms of Narcolepsy
The most common symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness. Accordingly, the patient may feel tired and sleepy throughout the day. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between normal fatigue and the symptoms of narcoleptics. Other symptoms include:
a. Cataplexy – a sudden loss of muscle tone that can affect any body part. For example, people with narcolepsy may lose their voices or suddenly drop to the floor.
b. Hallucinations – seeing things that aren’t there, hearing voices, or feeling like you’re being touched.
c. Sleep Paralysis – not being able to move your arms or legs but being aware of your surroundings.
How is it Treated
Treatment options for narcolepsy include medications, behavioral therapy, and surgery. Medicines that treat narcolepsy-include stimulants, antidepressants, antihistamines, and hypnotics. Stimulant drugs help increase alertness by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Antidepressants improve mood and reduce anxiety. Antihistamines relieve itching caused by allergies. Hypnotic drugs relax muscles and slow down thoughts. Treating narcolepsy can be very challenging because it involves balancing the need for sleep against the desire to remain awake. Additionally, medication side effects can make it hard to function normally and lead to other health problems.
Can a Neurologist treat Narcolepsy
A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases affecting the nervous system. Your neurologist will diagnose your condition based on your medical history, physical exam, and tests. Your neurologist may recommend treatment options, including medications, behavioral therapies, and surgeries.
If you have narcolepsy, your neurologist may prescribe medications to help you stay awake during the day and prevent episodes of cataplexy. They may also suggest behavioral therapies to help you learn how to manage your symptoms. Finally, if your symptoms are severe, your neurologist may perform surgery to implant electrodes directly into the brain to stimulate specific areas. These electrodes send electrical signals to the brain to keep you awake. Therefore, this type of surgery is only recommended for patients whose symptoms are so severe that they cannot live without them and must take medications daily.
Should I see a Neurologist if I have Narcolepsy
Talk to your primary care physician about getting tested if you think you might have narcolepsy-or another type of sleep disorder. You should also speak to a sleep specialist if you experience frequent nighttime awakening, daytime sleepiness, or feelings of confusion after waking up. In addition, if you notice changes in your behavior or memory, or if you have trouble concentrating, you should seek further evaluation.
What causes Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is an inherited disease that affects the brain’s ability to regulate sleep and wakefulness. The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown. However, researchers believe that genetics play a role in causing this condition. People with narcolepsy tend to inherit a defective gene from one parent. This gene makes a protein called hypocretin that helps control sleep and wakefulness. When the hypocretin gene is damaged, the body produces too little of the protein. As a result, people with narcolepsy do not feel sleepy when they should. They also have difficulty staying awake during the day. Some people with narcoleptic symptoms also have low levels of serotonin in their blood.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Although there is no cure for-narcolepsy, treatments can help some people cope with its symptoms. Accordingly, it is essential to discuss your diagnosis with your doctor. They can provide information on available treatments and refer you to a sleep specialist if needed. Neurology and narcolepsy have been featured on the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine cover.
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If you are looking for an expert Neurologist Fort Lauderdale to treat Narcolepsy, Contact Dr. Jeff Steinberg.