Narcolepsy 101

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is both a sleep and neurological disorder that interrupts the typical sleep patterns that our bodies are meant to experience. This disease can be debilitating, causing many troubling symptoms. However, the disease strikes a little differently in each person. The biggest problem narcolepsy causes is excessive sleepiness, especially during the day when you should be awake.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

  • Excessive sleepiness, especially during the day
  • Episodes of sleep attacks, such as falling asleep suddenly without control
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations, especially during bouts of sleepiness
  • Cataplexy, a secondary disease that often goes along with narcolepsy

Causes of Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy and cataplexy are caused by complex problems in the brain that interfere with what the human body is meant to do at times of sleep and wakefulness. With cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone happens and REM sleep occurs in a wakeful state rather than while asleep. In narcolepsy, the boundaries of wakefulness and sleep in the brain are thin, generally due to a lack of hypocretin, a chemical in the brain.  The region of the hypothalamus that produces this chemical is typically destroyed or damaged in a patient with narcolepsy.

Diagnosis and Treatments for Narcolepsy

At O2 Pulmonary & Sleep Group, we have two tests to determine if you could have narcolepsy and/or cataplexy. One is a daytime test, and the other is done at night. These are both types of sleep studies.

Contact Us Today

To find out if you might be affected by narcolepsy, contact us today for an appointment at 214-919-0757.